Sen. Dillon Calls on Gov’t to Lock Down Monrovia to Contain Coronavirus

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Montserrado’s Sen. Darius Dillon is recommending the government to institute stringent measures for the safety and wellbeing of citizens, in the midst of the increasing number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19.

Dillon made the recommendation in a Facebook post on Saturday, April 4 after the virus’ first casualty was recorded in Liberia.

“The deadly Coronavirus disease has taken the life of a victim in Liberia, with [a] growing number of people being tested positive. Sad and troubling!” he wrote.

Since then, health authorities have announced 13 cumulative cases, including three deaths.

Dillon said it was time for the government to implement all necessary measures, including the immediate lockdown of Montserrado and the entire country for the number of days necessary to curtail the Coronavirus transmission.

Other measures recommended by the Montserrado senator include imposing a curfew to keep people off the streets, the payment of civil servants’ salaries for two months to enable them to buy basic needs as they remain home, and to ensure that employees in the private sector also get paid.

The lawmaker also called for the popular ‘three days free calls’ promotion and data service charging rates previously offered by mobile phone service companies to be restored. Telecommunications companies had lobbied for a floor price on data and voice services offered to curb what they considered destructive competitive practices. In late 2019, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority’s order came into effect, more than doubling the cost of data and significantly limiting promotional offers.

Sen. Dillon had other recommendations: “Ensure [the Liberia Electricity Corporation] be regular and stable; water and sewage must ensure [a] constant supply of pipe-borne water; provide funding to buy food and other needed medical stuff for distribution to recognized but struggling orphanages, Group of 77, and other known organizations catering to people with disabilities, public hospitals, etc.”

Dillon also called for a suspension of the US$0.30 cents collected for every gallon of petroleum products sold. US$0.25 of that amount is reserved by law in the National Road Fund for use on road maintenance and construction.

The lawmaker further recommended that landlords should be considerate in demanding rent from their clients during the period of the pandemic.

“We must fight and win this disease together, or this disease will wipe us all away together,” he concluded.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

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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