Liberia currently has three confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 15 suspected cases, all of whom are being kept in government-run quarantine. Thankfully, the government response has been quite pro-active, I think because of lessons learned during the Ebola epidemic as well as seeing what is currently happening around the world. As early as the beginning of February, when Mr. DiCanio flew back into Liberia after vacationing in the USA, temperature checks were being done on all arriving passengers in the international airport. Passengers returning from China, which was the hotspot at that time, were put into 14 days mandatory quarantine. On the same day that the first cases were announced (16th March), all schools were shut and precautionary advice began to be disseminated regarding symptoms, self-isolation, and social distancing.
Yesterday (22nd March), a 21-day lockdown went into effect for the two counties that are affected so far – Montserrado and Margibi. All commercial flights into and out of the country are banned, except for cargo or chartered flights. All entertainment centers, beaches and resorts, churches and religious centers, schools and educational institutions are closed; restaurants, banks, and supermarkets are limited as to the number of customers; public transport like taxis and motorbike taxis have passenger limits; any gathering of more than 10 people is banned (including weddings and funerals); and travel within and outside of the affected areas is discouraged.
Our bookstore and church are located in Montserrado, and our radio station and missionary accommodation are located in Margibi county. So as of now, all meetings at the church are cancelled, including children’s activities, the bookstore is closed for now since people come there to study and it may be termed a ‘religious center’, and we are limiting our travel and interaction with people. We are so thankful to have the radio station at this time; many people here do not have the internet connection to watch live webcasts, but most of them have radios. Because the station is run by a computer and one staff member at a time, we are hopeful that we will be able to keep it going throughout this pandemic. Thank you for your continued prayers, especially in this time of global upheaval and uncertainty.