Check out Global Voices' special coverage of global impact of COVID -19.
Liberian President George Weah – the 1995 Ballon d'Or winner – has turned to his singing talent to help lessen the spread of COVID-19.
As of April 22 there was 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Liberia and eight confirmed deaths.
Along with the renowned Liberian gospel and lay musicians, Weah recorded his song to spread the “message of unity in the country to stop the spread of the virus”, writes Gary Connaughton:
We're all in this together. The main message being preached throughout the world is that regardless of your own health status, we can all do our bit to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means staying at home when possible, practicing good hygiene, being able to spot potential symptoms, and staying away from high risk people. It's fairly straightforward stuff, but it can save lives.
We are all in this together. The main message that is preached around the world is that, regardless of our own state of health, we can all contribute our bit to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means; stay home as much as possible, have good hygiene, be able to differentiate possible symptoms and stay away from high-risk people. It is very simple, but it can save lives.
The song encourages citizens to come together to “fight the crown,” and Weah sings, “Anything is possible … let's unite to fight this deadly disease now!”
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOX6UP5ZncE (/ embed)
It is not the first time that Weah has tapped into his singing talent to address the nation. At the end of 2019, shaken by violence, protests and strikes, Weah released a song called “Peace in our Nation. Peace in our land ”, in which he called for peaceful solutions to the nation's problems.
On April 8, Weah headed to the nation, and recalled the creation of the Coronavirus Committee (SPACOC) two months earlier. It also declared a state of emergency for three weeks across Liberia, which began on April 10, 2020, renewable until the COVID-19 threat ends.
Among other measures, Weah confined four counties with the order to stay home. He added:
Hundreds of thousands of persons around the globe have been infected by (the coronavirus), thousands have died as a result of contracting it, and many more thousands are predicted to die. The disease has overwhelmed more advanced health care systems in many countries, and has brought the economies of several developed nations almost to a complete halt…
Throughout this period, residents may leave home only for essential journeys for reasons of health and food, which should be restricted to your local community only, and be limited to a single person per household for a maximum of one hour.
Hundreds of people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus, thousands have died as a result of the contagion, and many more will die. This disease has surpassed the most advanced health systems in several countries and has paralyzed the economies of many developed countries …
Throughout this period, people can only leave home for essential health trips and to buy provisions, which should be restricted only to their local community and to only one person per family for a maximum of one hour.
Exceptions were made for those considered “essential workers”.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, members of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives approved Weah's state of emergency declaration.
Writer Jonathan Brown wrote about Weah's emergency relief fund to help those struggling with these new measures:
They call for creation of a COVID 19 Emergency Relief Fund that would request private donations from individuals, group of individuals, local and international private organizations, business enterprises and any other person interested in assisting the most vulnerable populations of the Republic against the scourge of COVID 19.
They called for the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which would solicit private donations from individuals, groups of individuals, international and local private organizations, commercial companies and anyone interested in helping to assist the most vulnerable people in the Republic against the scourge of COVID-19.
According to journalist Leroy M. Sonpon, III, lawmakers went beyond the president's request, granting an initial amount of $ 25 million for a food support program that will include all 15 Liberian counties, with the exception that locally produced food is prioritized – along with the most vulnerable populations, such as young people, homeless people, orphanages, older adults, disabled people and health workers.
Facing COVID-19 in Liberia
A strong solidarity movement has swept the country that knows from the first source the scourge of a highly contagious virus like Ebola between 2014 and 2016.
Liberians have generated donations to support COVID-19 interventions and many campaigns to promote education and awareness.
The World Bank also quickly approved about $ 7.5 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to fund Liberia's response against COVID-19.
Christopher C. Walker states that the production of reusable face masks made in Liberia, through the Liberia Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE):
The mask, which is produced in Liberia, would be distributed to hundreds of Liberians and non-Liberians who are residing in Liberia to be used to prevent the virus…
The masks, which are produced in Liberia, should be distributed to hundreds of Liberians and non-Liberians living in the country to prevent the virus …
Megan Beare, the Irish volunteer in Liberia, may have been evacuated but chose to stay:
I am also young and healthy. I feel that staying here is just the right thing for me to do so that we can help as many as we can and try prevent any further spread of COVID-19. It is just four years after Liberians celebrated being free from the Ebola virus that killed 4,800 people here in the first year of that outbreak in 2014.
I am also young and healthy. I feel like staying here is the right thing to do, so I can help as many of us as we can and try to further prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has only been four years since Liberians celebrated being free of Ebola that killed 4,800 people in the first year of the epidemic in 2014.
On January 10, journalist Andrew Green reported that these protests were “the largest in Liberia in more than a decade,” according to Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy director of the Africa Program at the Royal Institute for International Affairs. “President George Weah, who inherited a difficult economic situation, has quickly descended from hero to disappointment in the popular imagination,” Donnelly said.
Protesters had demanded that Weah fire his entire team of financial advisers.
While Weah has been praised for his singing talents and financial measures in response to COVID-19, the Smart News Liberia newscaster believes that the new and worrying restrictions imposed by Liberian authorities on independent media could undermine health public.
“Only the state broadcaster ELBC has unlimited access to report what the regime wants,” according to Smart News Liberia.