Head of churches and prominent church leaders of the Liberia Council of Churches attended a call meeting by H.E Dr. George Manneh Weah at his Jamaica Resort on March 20, 2020.
Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO country rep to Liberia , CDC country representative, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of state Nathaniel Mcgill, Dr. Thomas Nah Kateh, Deputy Minister-health Services/Chief Medical Officer- republic of Liberia, Rev. Emmanuel Nimely, Religious adviser to the President of the Republic of Liberia and others were in attendance.
President Weah welcome the LCC delegation and thanked them for honoring his call. He expressed concern about the safety of all Liberian and wanted to know the churches respomse in the fight against Covid19 when there is already 3 confirm cases of the deadly COVID19 virus already in Liberia.
The Churches in response through the president Bishop Kortu K. Brown acknowledged the President for organizing a meeting with church leaders regarding the safety of the state in such a critical time where our country is hit by the deadly COVID19 virus which have a negative implication on our social, economic, and political well-being as a people.
The president of the LCC told H.E President Weah that the churches have been very much concerned since the rapid spread of COVID19 across the globe till the point of our first confirmed case on March 16, 2020. The LCC has been involved in prayer against the virus, encouraging it’s member to follow health protocols and creating awareness through its departments on Health and Ecumenical Relations.
The LCC encouraged churches to reduce the amount of people attending service dearby declaring that 2 or more worship services be held depending on the size of the congregation. The LCC at the same time strongly support some of its member denominational churches like the Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran who suspended all church related activities for a particular period as a means of preventing the spread of COVID19. He also noted the setting up of a Corona Virus Ecumenical Emergency Response Team plus voices of church leaders recording to give hope to their members and encourage them to follow all rules given by heath authorities and admittance that COVID19 is real, are part of strategies and efforts made by the Churches in the fight against COVID19 thus far.
For his part Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO country rep to Liberia acknowledged the President and the Local Health authorities and the churches for their level of work. He said, COVID19 is similar to common cold. It is a new virus that no one know about the vaccine. The virus circulates around the nose, mouth, eyes, and palm-washing our hands frequently an avoid rubbing our hands on our faces, and avoiding large gatherings help people from contracting the virus. “The WHO is working tirelessly to handle the COVID19 pandemic.” He cautioned Liberians to manage the information about COVID19. Dr. Gasasira, said spreading misinformation can create panic and fear and encourgage those in the habits of spreading falsehood on social media to desist from said pratices.
Meanwhile; he encourage Liberians to stay calm and applaud the President and health workers who are working day and night.
President Weah in response to the efforts made by the LCC applauded the LCC for calling on its member churches have more than one services during this crisis while alluding to the fact that it is difficult to preach 3 times a Sunday but encourage clergymen that we have no choice. The president call on church leaders for support when we reach a point which may require the shutting down of churches when situation goes worse.
The Liberia President frowned at those trying to change the narrative that COVID19 is not in Liberia, that it is a scam by the GOL to get money from the international community, warning those in such habits when caught will face the full weight of the law. He mentioned that strong warning has been given to all senior government officials who refuse to abide by health protocols at any given time said official(s) will be penalized.
When the issue of mistreatment at holding center and a certificate that has gone viral on social media claiming that Liberia’s index case Mr. Nathaniel Blama is declared negative of COVID19 virus were raised by church leaders;
Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah dispel the rumors and challenged church leaders to pay visit at the facilities. She said those under quarantine are well taking care of including the three positive cases undergoing treatment.
Minister Jallah said the GOL is spending a lot of money on those quarantine and the active contact tracing carried out by the ministry of health.
Dr. Thomas Nah Kateh, Deputy Minister-health Services/Chief Medical Officer- republic of Liberia for his part, confirm that Mr Blama is still 100% positive. “The certificate spreading on social media is fake. The signature of WHO Director General is fogged, he further noted that if certificate of such is to be issued, the signature of the WHO country rep will be affixed and not the Director General.
Finally, the LCC pledged to remain cooperative with the GOL for any future measures that would need to be put in place once it has to do with the safety of all Liberians..