By Tina S. Mehnpaine – Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, April 6, 2020.
Liberia says it has recorded the first COVID-19 death, Health Ministry Dr. Wilmemina Jallah announced on state radio – Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS). The number of deaths has however risen to three.
72-year-old John Teah was admitted at the isolation ward of Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) hospital in Paynesville outside Monrovia. Teah’s son and other relatives were also arrested after he was pronounced dead.
When news broke out that Teah died of COVID-19, his son and other relatives stormed the hospital and told authorities that their father didn’t die from the virus.
National Telegraph was told his son demanded that they give his body for burial. A source at the hospital said the last resort was calling the police, who came and took them to the cell.
A police spokesperson, Moses Carter said they will be held until authorities at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health collect their samples.
Prince Teah posted on social media that his father did not die from the virus. Martin K.N Kollie also posted on Facebook that the deceased is a builder who died from High Blood Pressure. He died early Saturday, April 4, 2020, after testing positive of the virus late Friday, according to Health Minister confirmed.
Martin K.N Kollie, however, said the Minister lied. “The deceased actually passed on April 3rd after he fell in a coma on April 2nd. Why must GOL through MOH LIE in order to create public panic and fear? This is disgusting and disturbing,” he quizzed.
Dr. Jallah also said that the virus is now having a hold on the nation. She also called on citizens to abide by all safety measures.
The country also announced three new cases on Friday. “I want to announce that we have three additional confirmed cases yesterday. We were at seven, which was Friday and this morning we now have ten cases” Jallah disclosed.
The number has now risen to thirteen. Two of the newest cases are laboratory technicians, who are believed to have contracted the virus while testing blood samples where they worked.
Doris Teah, 41-year old female works at Edinburg Clinic, and David Zinnah, 42, who also works with ASPEN clinic, Information Minister, Eugene Nagbe listed the names of the laboratory technicians.
The Health Minister urged those running laboratories at various clinics and hospitals to be very careful owing that they do not know the status of the patients they are interacting with.
“The technicians were tested and they came out positive, including the 72-year-old man who died this morning”
Liberia has started tracing the contacts of those confirmed. Authorities have implored those who came in contact with the two lab technicians to come for testing at Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD).
Minister Jallah also expressed frustration that healthcare workers are not treated well by community dwellers when they go after affected persons.
“We will start tracing people in communities but it is said that people are dodging you when you get into communities to trace suspected cases and contacts, some are even running away with their relatives”
Liberia now has three deaths after health authorities announced two more late Sunday.