The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has expressed dismay over unsubstantiated media reports intended to cause panic among the people of Liberia relative to the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.
Such fake media report, according to Dr. Mosoka Fallah, who is acting Director General of the NPHIL, has negative economic implication on the country as it is no doubt damming enough to scare investors and to cause mass panic among the people.
Dr. Fallah, who spoke to the Liberia News Agency (LINA) in Monrovia on Thursday, said such report makes the work of the NPHIL difficult as the issue of trust will also be raised by partners as well as citizens, noting that “it puts the country in further danger if the media feed the public with news that does not exist.
Late Wednesday evening, the FrontPageAfrica newspaper reported that a Liberian who traveled from China and transited through Ghana to arrive in Liberia, escaped from quarantine after being diagnosed by Liberian authority of the deadly airborne Coronavirus disease.
The report, sparked panic among several citizens and subsequently attracted several reactions on Facebook and that of the NPHIL platform, among other entities, including partners, before the post was lately deleted.
“We have instituted comprehensive screening of everyone or people travelling from countries of interest,” Dr. Fallah told LINA in response to an inquiry on measures being instituted at ports of entry, particularly airports.
“We started first with China, and now we have gone to four countries based on the transmission of the virus in these countries, and these people are screened, their traveling history are recorded and their temperatures are taken, those that are coming from countries of interests are taken from the airport to our precautionary observation center for 14 days,” he told LINA.
Relative to the situation at the quarantine center located at the Star Base on Bushrod Island, Dr Fallah said, 23 individuals (all Liberians) who are under quarantine are requesting for television and internet service at the facility, he said, adding that the center has eight official bathrooms and that a hygienist is assigned to each bathroom.
“They have been making demands everywhere we take them,” Fallah said, disclosing that the government is about to take 25 television at the quarantine center as a means of adhering to the demands of those in the facility.
Meanwhile, the NPHIL official has cautioned Liberians to continue to be on the alert and to contact health authorities if they have information on any friend or relative who is traveling from China, Japan, Italy or other countries with high-level infection rate.
According to him, the collective efforts by all Liberians will prevent the virus from reaching the Liberian shores.
The Coronavirus disease started in the Chinese City of Wuhan in late January this year and has since spread to several countries, including Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom.
The virus has infected over 78,000 people in China alone as at 27 February, with 2, 746 deaths, according to reports.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in human.
The Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.