Says President George Weah in State of Emergency declaration
Farmers and other people working along the food-value chain in Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Grand Kru counties will continue business as usual during a 14-day lockdown restriction. The lockdown is expected to take effect as of Friday, April 10.
President George M. Weah, who declared the State of Emergency Wednesday, April 8 when he addressed the nation about his government's plan for containing the novel Coronavirus, said that people that are involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of food in the four surveillance counties are exempted from the "stay home" restriction.
"Also exempted from these restrictions are: (a) production, distribution, and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and medicine; (b) environmental and sanitation activities; ( c) members of the security forces assigned to lawful duties; (d) essential staffs of electricity, water, telecommunications, banking, and hotels, and (e) the staff of fuel stations," the President noted in his address to the nation.
The President, however, instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to engage the leadership of marketing associations in the lockdown counties to make satisfactory arrangements about the operation of markets during the 14 days. This, he said during his speech, is to ensure the observance of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.
It is believed that the measure would maintain the availability of food in lockdown counties while the nation continues its fight against the Coronavirus which has already infected 31 people and has claimed 4 lives.
But the affordability and access to food, particularly for the vulnerable population, remains of high concern as the Coronavirus crisis continues.
The West African state has been fighting the virus since March 16, when the executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Nathaniel Blama, contracted the virus. Blama has since recovered.