Following the reported death of one of its employees in Lagos, Nigeria recently, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning was on Monday, July 28 shut down at 12: 00 to be reopened on Tuesday, July 29.
The employee, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, Coordinator of the ECOWAS National Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, died of the Ebola disease in Nigeria where he had gone to attend a meeting.
In a statement issued in Monrovia Monday, the Ministry announced measures to help ensure public safety and instill confidence in users of services at the Ministry.
The statement said all senior officials, who were in direct or indirect contact with Mr. Sawyer, have been placed on the prescribed 21 days observatory surveillance period starting July 20, the day Mr. Sawyer departed the country for Nigeria.
"All concerned senior officials have been requested to telecommute up until when certified by the Ministry of Health to return to active duty," the statement said as part of measures to safeguard other employees.
"The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh has requested the Ministry of Health to immediately quarantine and properly sanitize both the former Ministry of Finance and the former Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs buildings, including the newly constructed National Authorizing Office of the European Union," statement pointed out.
"All employees, who made no contact with Sawyer, but have been traumatized as a result of the situation in the last few days and would like to take some time off, are free to stay home until when it is necessary to return to duty," the statement said.
According to the statement, the ministry has asked all essential employees still working at the Ministry to observe the following measures strictly:
"Use of the elevator is restricted to only 4 persons per trip; absolutely no clustering on the stairways; no gathering of more than five persons except for meetings in conference spaces or spatial environment; absolutely no handshakes, hugging or other physical bodily contact."
The ministry has also asked employees to report any suspicious illness or strange conditions among employees.
According to the statement, only persons with genuine business dealings and transactions would be permitted on the premises.
The ministry has meanwhile encouraged all employees to always wear long sleeve clothing to minimize any possible risk of exposure.
In addition to these measures, the Ministry has put in place a thorough sanitary program and is admonishing all staff to use the hand washer or personalized sanitizers or disposable gloves available at the Ministry's entrance, the statement concluded.