The New Dawn (Monrovia)

31 August 2014

Liberia: Government Extends Stay-Home Order for Non-Essential Staff

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extended the stay-home order imposed on all non-essential government employees by another one month beginning Monday, September 1, 2014.

Government's non-essential employees have been away since August 1, after the order was first issued as part of measures to run skeletal staff in public offices due to the deadly Ebola outbreak here.

An Executive Mansion released dated Sunday, August 31, 2014, says this measure remains necessary to decongest government work places as efforts continue to contain the spread of the Ebola virus disease which is having devastating consequences on the country.

President Sirleaf is quoted in the statement as assuring government employees affected by the stay-home orders that they will continue to receive their salaries during the period of their absence from work.

On Wednesday, July 30, President Sirleaf, in a Special Statement to the Nation announced that all non-essential staff begin a 30-day compulsory leave; noting the strategy was to contain the spread, care for the afflicted with the goal of "No New Cases."

In another development, President Sirleaf, on Friday, August 29, held talks with officials of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia. The APD requested the meeting to discuss how they could be of help in the national fight against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease. The APD officials proposed a "Strategy for Rapid Tracing and Tracking of Individuals," similar to that used during civil war for the distribution of relief materials to various communities by the Special Emergency Life Food Program.

As a way forward, the APD recommended that the Chair of the National Task Force mandates the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to consider the integration of community enumeration and structure numbering strategy into the Ebola virus transmission tracking and tracing mechanism to enhance and support ongoing efforts, among others.

Responding, President Sirleaf commended the APD for the national thoughtfulness and stressed that all hands were required on deck in the effort to contain the further spread of the disease. She said as a way of decentralizing the structure of Taskforce she chairs with assistance from partners and international stakeholders, similar structures will be set up at the county level for consistency, collaboration and efficiency.

President Sirleaf welcomed the proposal of the APD and promised to advance it to the Task Force and Incidence Management System for consideration. She said the Incidence Management System is supported by a Task Force Secretariat headed by Mr. Dorbor Jallah who handles the logistical component and resources involved.

Meanwhile, the Liberian leader instructed the lifting on the quarantine of the Township of West Point on Saturday, August 30. President Sirleaf's action is based on the advice of authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as well as consultations with local and international partners involved with efforts aimed at containing the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.

She also indicated that residents' cooperation and support over the period heightened the decision to lift the embargo on the Township of West Point. On Tuesday, August 19, the Government of Liberia announced that the communities of West Point in Monrovia and Dolo's Town in Margibi County were quarantined effective Wednesday, August 20, beginning at 6:00 p.m., ordering at the time for no movement in and out of the two communities.

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