Coronavirus Killed Five Liberian Health Workers

MONROVIA, Montserrado – A doctor coordinating the National COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Center has disclosed that five healthcare professionals in Liberia have died from the virus since the outbreak began in March last year.

Addressing a Ministry of Information press conference on May 20, Dr. Heounohu Romello Hessou, the clinical coordinator for the center, said there were only 35 active COVID-19 cases in the country, and health authorities have been tirelessly responding to the virus.

As of May 20, he said over 86,000 samples of the virus had been tested in Liberia, and “2,142 laboratory cases were confirmed.”

“Out of the 2,142 confirmed laboratory cases, unfortunately, 85 deaths were reported, of which 5 were healthcare workers,” he added.

Moving forward, Hessou said concerns about new variants had led health authorities to update the country’s Coronavirus travel regulations. As of May 13, all passengers arriving from India, Brazil, Nepal, and Pakistan undergo precautionary observation for ten days.

India is currently the worst-hit country, with over 300,000 recorded deaths.

“The decision is meant to protect the Liberia populace from the possibility of [an] influx of new COVID-19 cases and variants,” Hessou said.

He pointed out that passengers from the restricted countries would be quarantined at designated facilities at their own expense, and they would be “monitored and tested on the seventh day and, if found to be negative, they will be allowed into the community.”

He added that health authorities are also now allowing for an expedited Coronavirus testing service for travelers for an extra cost of US$100. The service can reduce the wait time from 72 to 24 hours. The standard fee for travelers is already US$75 for destinations and origins outside of the ECOWAS region and US$50 within ECOWAS.

Notably, the new travel guidelines do not exempt fully vaccinated travelers from having to be tested.

Featured photo Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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