Liberian government said on Tuesday the country has recorded the second case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), just one day after the index case was announced.
The second case is a domestic worker in the home of Nathaniel Blama, the first confirmed case in the country, said Eugene Nagbe, the minister of information, cultural affairs, and tourism, in a statement made available to Xinhua in Monrovia.
According to a situation report released by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) on Monday, Blama, the suspended head of the Environmental Protection Agency, traveled to Switzerland on official duty on March 9 and returned to Liberia on Friday via a Brussels airlines flight.
Blama self-reported to the NPHIL on Sunday after he had symptoms of fever and unproductive cough, NPHIL said, adding sample was collected and tested at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory. The positive test result was received on Monday.
NPHIL said Blama is clinically stable and in isolation. So far 126 contacts have been listed, 21 of them with high risk.
According to Nagbe, health workers have determined the second case was a primary contact of Blama when he returned to his residence, and are tracing and testing several other primary and secondary persons who Blama might have come in contact with.
NPHIL said Liberian President George Weah has announced National Public Health Emergency. The public health emergency management system has been activated to level 1 at the national and county level, and schools will be temporarily closed for one week.
Weah has announced measures that will be put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 infection in the country while addressing the nation following the development on Monday.
Among other measures being taken, the Liberian leader placed a ban on going to and coming from countries where there are over 200 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“We have moved from the precautionary stage to the containment stage. I asked all Liberians to practice good hygiene, and to report anyone with strange behavior,” Weah said.
He also said the local Civil Service Agency has been instructed to grant “pay leave” for non-essential government workers and called on religious institutions and schools, among others, to ensure regular hand washing for everyone’s safety. Enditem