31 July 2014

Liberia: Justice Ministry Issues Stringent Measures to Curtail Ebola

Photo: Samaritans Purse
Dr Kent Brantly cares for an Ebola patient in the isolation ward before he tested positive for the virus.

The Ministry of Justice has issued several stringent measures to help curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.

Ebola is the world deadliest disease that has no cure or vaccine.

Over 100 persons, including health workers have died in Liberia as a result of the Ebola since the outbreak of the virus in March of this year.

According to Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah, the joint security of the Liberian government, especially the Liberia National Police (LNP) would provide maximum security for health workers across the country.

She said health care workers burying Ebola patients have been stoned by unknown persons in some communities.

She spoke on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at a news conference held at the Ministry of Justice in Sinkor, Monrovia.

Min. Tah stated that although government is not insensitive to the plights of community dwellers, health care workers must be respected and protected at all times.

She pointed out that the LNP would enforce the confiscation of bush meats being sold at various market places in Liberia.

She said the move is intended to help protect the lives of the citizens noting that, "we are not going to eat it."

"Four days ago, I saw people with pans of bush meat; when the police see you, they will confiscate the bush meat. We are doing it not just because we want to take it somewhere and eat it ourselves; we're doing it to protect you and any other person that could be harmed by that.

There's law against reckless endangerment to other people," she stated.

Minister Tah, who is also the Attorney General of Liberia, warned citizens to desist from "bathing dead bodies."

According to her, the restriction on bathing dead persons is not intended to disrespect religious belief.

"There are certain things we do for culture or religious reasons, but if you know somebody is bleeding through the nose and they died and you go and bathe that person you will lose your life. We are not doing this to show disrespect for anyone religious belief," she added.

She said government alone cannot eradicate the virus without the collective efforts and cooperation of its citizens noting that, "we need to take this very seriously."

Cllr. Tah indicated that the reduction of overcrowding of vehicles and elevators would also be enforced by the LNP.

She said LNP officers risk their job if they compromise the overcrowding of vehicles.

She noted that vehicles operators found violating would be apprehended.

"The public needs to be watching too. If you do not see them call and report. You need to help us enforce the law. Report police officers who are not doing their job and collecting money. You might collect LD$20, but that may be your death sentence you are collecting; because you just expose yourself and other citizens," she maintained.

The Liberian attorney general disclosed that LNP officers would also arrest individuals who give "wrong information" about the deadly virus.

She mentioned that government intends to work with the media to help dispel negative perceptions of the presence of the Ebola virus in Liberia.

"We will arrest people who give misinformation. Please do not get on the radio and say Ebola is not real; you can take bathe with Ebola people; they are taking the people's parts. That is not correct.

The media is a very powerful organ; we want to work with you; we respect you. Do not allow people to use your radio or good time; find out what they want to say.

If they want to talk about Ebola ask them what kind of information they have. Do not be a part of making our people more miserable. We need to give information but, the correct information and so, we will arrest people who deliberately misinform the public," she averred.

She noted that "contacts persons" listed by authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare should "stay home."

Cllr. Tah said persons placed under surveillance by the ministry, is in no way intended to "stigmatize" them but to "take the necessary steps to protect Liberians."

Minister Tah said all citizens must cooperate with security officers as well as health workers that are conducting testing at various border points that are opened.

Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry boss has dispelled speculations in the public that the Liberian government has conspired with foreigners to extract parts from the bodies of its citizens.

"We hear people saying in the public that we are in some kind of conspiracy with foreigners to take parts from your body; we will never do that to our citizens. We will not hurt any of our people to take parts from their bodies. Ebola is real.

There is no society person out there trying to conspire because election is coming. We want to dispel that," the Justice Minister added.

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