March 17, 2020
On 16th March, 2020, the President of the Republic of Liberia addressed the nation, informing us of a confirmed case of Coronavirus in Liberia. It is, therefore, necessary to issue the following guidelines in order to prevent, and where necessary, contain and mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus within the YMCA or the country.
The Corona Virus has affected many countries around the world, with over 181,202 cases and over 7,121 deaths worldwide to date. On the African continent, so far there are more than 350 confirmed cases (7 deaths) in Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Gabon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, Rwanda and Liberia.
These cases are a wake-up call for institutions within the continent to do all we can to prepare for an eventual outbreak, and respond rapidly to contain and isolate these initial cases: time is critical now. YMCA, as an institution, must do whatever we can to minimize infection/spreading of the virus.
While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, Let’s take action to prevent the disease through simple, day-to-day measures. It has, therefore, become necessary to issue the following guidelines in order to prevent, and where necessary, contain and mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus. These guidelines should remain in force until further notice.
1, Foreign travel
All foreign travels by YMCA members and staff should be avoided. We encourage online meetings so that chances of contracting and spreading the virus are reduced. All official YMCA related travels to or from Liberia have been postponed. YMCA encourages staff to avoid private travels out of the country.
2. Conferences, retreats, workshops
Conferences, retreats, workshops, sporting events and other similar events of young people within the YMCA that bring a large group of people together should, going forward, be postponed for the next two weeks. A determination will be made after this period based on the situation at the time. Meanwhile, any department/program organizing such activities over the next few weeks should submit the below information to the NGS for prior approval:
- Name of event
- Location of event, i.e. county and city
- Approximate # of attendees
- Purpose of the event
- Brief summary of the impact of postponing/or rationale for not postponing.
3. Recent travels and possible exposure
Members of YMCA, Volunteers and staff who, within the past fourteen (14) days have returned into the country from a destination in which cases of coronavirus infection have been reported are advised to take particular precautionary measures as follows –
(a) Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose and avoid contact with others.
(b) If you develop a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical advice promptly. Call in advance and tell your medical service provider about your recent travel. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility and also on the right measures to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Any other staff who may have been exposed to the coronavirus through their contacts or who has the symptoms currently associated with infection with the virus is encouraged to immediately seek medical advice and to minimize close interaction with other persons in the interim.
4. Other preventive measures
YMCA Volunteers and staff are encouraged to observe the following further preventive measures issued by the World Health Organization as required to be undertaken by every individual in order to prevent, and where necessary, contain or mitigate the spread of the coronavirus –
(a) Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and running water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. For this purpose, YMCA Centers must ensure that disinfectants/sanitizers are available at every YMCA facility/program.
(b)Maintain a distance of at least 6-feet between yourself and anyone; especially someone who is coughing or sneezing;
(c) Persons with a cough or sneezing should stay at home or keep a social distance, and avoid mixing with others in a crowd;
(d), Maintain good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing into a handkerchief, tissue or your flexed elbow;
(e) Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth; and
(f) Seek medical attention early if you develop a fever or cough. Rapid detention, containment will minimize the harm.
5. YMCAs roles in preventing and responding to COVID 19
Last but not least, as always, the YMCA will continue to be a vehicle of information & education for people, please do not share unconfirmed information to create panic among our communities. Avoid at all costs being agents of fake news. Only share with social media and any other channels, accurate and verified information. A unified set of IEC materials are being developed by the Africa Alliance of YMCAs for the use of young people and the communities.
Please continue to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and official information from the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Let us all keep safe and together, we can overcome this epidemic.