MONROVIA (AA) – A state of confusion prevailed in Liberia as a 90-day state of emergency – imposed due to the deadly Ebola outbreak – was supposed to have expired on Thursday. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, however, has yet to make any statement as to whether the state of emergency would be ended or extended.
“We are currently in a state of dilemma; we are yet to understand why the leadership of our country and the rest of her officials are yet to tell [us] the status of our country, considering that in August the state of emergency was imposed,” Solomon Watkins, a Monrovia resident, told Anadolu Agency.
“I was expecting that, at about this time, the president would have told the country her next decision,” he added.
He went on to say that he and his family were worried by the official silence regarding the state of emergency.
“I must say it’s quite unfortunate that by now our leadership is yet to tell us. This is making more Liberians worry, including myself, about what will happen in the next three days,” Watkins said.
Citing government assurances that the spread of Ebola has slowed significantly, Watkins was hopeful that the president would lift the state of emergency while keeping a nighttime curfew in place.
“The issue of the state of emergency, we have crossed that level,” he said. “There is significant progress being made currently by the government in the fight against Ebola with support from the international community.”
Maintaining the state of emergency, Watkins warned, would tell the outside world that Liberia was still at risk.
“For now, I believe that the president needs to lift the state of emergency,” he concluded.
On August 6, Sirleaf imposed a countrywide state of emergency as part of measures aimed at containing Ebola.
The virus outbreak has killed about 2,697 people in Liberia alone since June, prompting the government to impose several restrictions on its citizens.
At the moment, health authorities in Liberia are recording fewer Ebola cases at Ebola treatment units across the country, compared to one month ago, when numerous dead bodies were being collected from various communities.
Necus Andrews, another Monrovia resident, told AA that he was anxious to hear the president reveal the status of the state of emergency.
“We don’t know why she has not spoken even though the day has not ended yet – but it’s important she says something,” he said.
Andrews, however, is of the view that the state of emergency should be extended by a few days or a month since Liberia has not yet been declared Ebola-free.
Levi Womleh, 19, agreed, warning that, if the state of emergency was lifted, many people would become complacent, which could lead to the further spread of the virus.
“We still have to fight Ebola to the fullest, but there is a need for the president to come out and give the official position on Ebola and the state of emergency,” Levi told AA.
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