President George Weah has announced the end of the state of emergency. He ordered soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia to return to their respective barracks.
The just-ended state of emergency came into effect on June 22. It was expected to last for 30 days. It was meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, the legality of the proclamation was always in question after lawmakers failed to provide the approval required by the constitution, rendering the measure void. Nevertheless, members of the security sector continued enforcing a 6 p.m. curfew that restricted movements of persons, in apparent violation of the constitution.
On July 21, when the 30 days of the state of emergency ended, the Executive Mansion stated that the army “has special logistical and human resource capabilities that could be called upon when needed.”
“President Weah said that the legal basis for the continuous presence of the army in some parts of the country to assist with the fight against the Coronavirus elapsed with the end of the State of Emergency,” it added.
The president mandated the health minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, and other relevant authorities to use existing public health laws to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country. He also warned the public not to view the ending of the state of emergency as a license to engage in behaviors that may lead to further spread of the virus.
Weah’s decision to not institute another state of emergency comes just as Liberia plans to celebrate Independence Day on July 26.