MONROVIA, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Liberian President George Weah on Wednesday declared a state of emergency aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
With the order which takes effect from 11:59 p.m. on Friday, citizens, as well as foreigners across the country are expected to stay at home for an initial period of 21 days, Weah said in a national broadcast.
The state of emergency which will be enforced by the joint security structure and the country's armed forces is in line with the Liberian Constitution, according to the president.
During the shelter-in-place period, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for medical purposes or to get essential commodities, including food items and gasoline, he said.
Also, those in the civil service excluding staff of the Ministry of Finance, Liberia Revenue Authority, National Ports Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Central Bank of Liberia are to work from home during the shelter-in-place period.
He also ordered commercial banks across the country to remain open to provide essential financial services during the pandemic.
Only one member of a household is expected to visit provision and grocery shops and markets for an hour every day, during the period, Weah said.
The president called the Liberian national legislature to convene an emergency session on Thursday, to approve the issuance of the state of emergency. He also urged retired health workers to immediately return to work, to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, has recorded 14 cases of the COVID-19. Among them, three deaths were recorded, three persons had recovered, and eight active cases left.