I will not seek an extension to the State of Emergency, Says President Sirleaf;Extends Curfew to 12 Midnight, Reopen Weekly and Border Markets, Among Others

Thursday, 13th November 2014
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the nation on Thursday, November 13, 2014.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the nation on Thursday, November 13, 2014.
Photo Credit: Ousman Diallo / Executive Mansion

Monrovia, Liberia - Though the fight against the Ebola virus disease is far from over, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has decided not seek an extension of the State of Emergency.

 

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, addressing the nation on Thursday, November 13, and citing reasons said, “It is because in our estimation, and that of those with whom we have consulted, the progress we have witnessed, coupled with the various measures and ongoing interventions  –  all  of  which can be continuously adopted and sustained under the relevant provisions of the public health law – have combined to re-position our efforts to sustain the fight against the virus until it is finally eradicated from our country.”

 

However, other measures that have been adjusted are that the curfew is extended from 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, except those in the proximity to hotspots; weekly and border markets are reopened and upon the immediate passage of the 2014/2015 Fiscal Budget school authorities will organize young people in communities to start the renovation and clean-up of school facilities in preparation for the opening of school at a time that will be decided by the progress made in the fight against Ebola.

 

President Sirleaf recounted that since March 2014, the country has been wracked by the outbreak which overwhelmed and disrupted the rebuilding of the country’s health system and undermined normal economic, social, cultural and political activities.

 

“Many of our fellow citizens became infected and died. Many more died of treatable illnesses as hospitals were shut down and beds were insufficient to treat the infected. The nation was shaken by this strange and dangerous enemy,” President Sirleaf noted. 

 

She said, amidst the demands and criticism, Government remained calm, undeterred and took some actions.  “We acted decisively, closing borders, imposing curfew, ordering quarantines, closing schools, and restricting public gatherings.

 

“As the outbreak progressed, posing a clear and present danger to the State, our neighbors and the rest of the world, we were compelled to declare a State of Emergency and obtained the concurrence of the Legislature in keeping with the Constitution.  We took on the fight.  We appealed to the world. We appealed to our citizens. Our citizens listened and the world responded,” she told the nation.

 

Today, President Sirleaf revealed, Liberians can all be proud of the progress made which would have been impossible without the resilient response of all, especially the health care workers who during those dark hours, stood up and fought back.

 

Continuing, the Liberian President said, from the active identification of cases to improved contact tracing; from the proper management of the outbreak through an Incident Management System to the social mobilization of communities; from the global mobilization of resources, to the strategic support of partners, Liberia continued to fight back and remain thankful to all for the responses the country has received. “Today we can all be proud of the progress,” she pointed out.

 

She emphasized that despite the gains made so far, a number of our compatriots are still lying in ETUs, while hot-spots are springing up in rural areas, and many of our compatriots are still dying of Ebola; noting that this country cannot be declared Ebola free until our neighbors – Guinea and Sierra Leone - are also Ebola free. “We cannot let down our guard nor can we afford to reduce our vigilance,” she warned.

 

“This is why, in keeping with the public health law, and determined to enable the maintenance of the required vigilance, community mobilization and awareness, as well as sustain the gains; until we can start the progressive count down of 21 days, until the national goal of zero-new-cases by Christmas is achieved all across the country, we will keep many of the previous measures in place with appropriate adjustments, consistent with the progress in our fight,” President Sirleaf stressed.

 

She expressed confidence that Liberia can win the fight against Ebola.  “I believe that the resilience and commitment of the people remain strong and resolute in this fight.  I believe that our partners will continue to be with us as we move to rebuild our health care delivery system.  I believe that the world has shown that they do care. I believe in the future of our country and the very strong will of our people,” the Liberian President reiterated.