Pres. Weah Extends State of Emergency After Saying No Extension Was Needed

MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has extended the state of emergency by an additional 30 days, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to escalate. The extension comes even though the president had earlier announced that no extension would occur.

The Executive Mansion said the president made the decision on Monday in consultation with the legislature to afford the government the opportunity to re-examine its COVID-19 response strategy.

After the declaration of a national health emergency by Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, Weah also announced a 30-day state of emergency on March 8, along with additional measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The order was amended by the legislature to last for 60 days.

As the first state of emergency neared an end, the president announced that it was not necessary to renew it and that the government was easing restrictions on measures meant to control the spread of the pandemic, including opening the Roberts International Airport to commercial flights on June 21. That date was later revised to June 28.

By June 20, however, the country had recorded 626 confirmed cases, including 34 deaths, and  254 total recoveries, according to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia. The last four days had recorded at least 20 cases a day.

In the proclamation to extend the state of emergency, the Executive Mansion said the measures would take effect immediately.

“Today’s extension not only reactivates the Liberian government’s tough response strategy but also offers the opportunity to examine the measures again,” the Executive Mansion said.

The president has seven days to present the conditions necessitating the state of emergency to the legislature, which must determine within 72 hours afterward whether to approve the measures.

Featured photo courtesy of Executive Mansion

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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