BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa â€“ Grand Bassa has begun voluntarily implementing most of the health emergency measures proposed by the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in Margibi and Montserrado.
On March 21, the Ministry of Health declared a health emergency and announced the closure of churches, entertainment centers, mosques, schools, and beaches in Montserrado and Margibi. The ministry also discouraged street selling, restricted stores, supermarkets, banks, and restaurants to five persons at a time.
Although the measures are not meant to apply to Grand Bassa, county authorities have pushed to implement all of the measures, except for the closure of places of worship.
During a meeting held on March 23, at the countyâ€™s administrative building in Buchanan, County Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh addressed leaders from a variety of groups, including the local transport union, the Muslim community, the Christian community, fueling stations, the Liberia Marketing Association, and district commissioners.
â€œIt is [for] the safety of everyone,â€ Baikpeh said. â€œWe need to go by the regulations because when one person gets infected, everyone will suffer. So, we need to do everything possible to prevent the coronavirus from entering the county. We donâ€™t have to wait until it enters Grand Bassa before we start taking preventive measures. No! Now is the time, we must act now!â€
Immediately after the meeting, Baikpeh and his team visited the Owensgrove and Big Joe Town checkpoints, major entry points into the county, to ensure that those traveling to the county adhere to established health regulations.
Although no Coronavirus case has been confirmed within the county and the total number of cases nationwide remains at three, the superintendent said it was necessary to take these actions to curb the spread of the virus.
He warned all chiefs, commissioners, and statutory superintendents to enforce the implementation of the regulations in their respective areas.
â€œThis is serious â€“ it is not anything to joke about,â€ he said. â€œListen to the news. People are dying on a daily basis in other countries. We need to fight it now.â€
Baikpeh discouraged residents from traveling outside of Grand Bassa for the duration of the order.
Already, businesses within the county including the banks and restaurants have begun observing the regulations. Commercial motorcyclists are now restricting the number of passengers they carry to one and tricycles are only carrying two persons in the back.
Commercial taxis traveling to and from Grand Bassa are also implementing the regulations by only carrying two passengers in the back and one in the front. Of course, this has meant an increased cost of transportation. Passengers now pay L$1,500 (US$7.58) from Buchanan to Monrovia compared to the L$650 (US$3.28) charged before the arrival of the virus in Liberia.
The prices of basic commodities have also increased, especially for products such as plastic buckets, hand sanitizers, bleach, as well as other sanitary materials.
Featured photo by Sampson David