At their 56th meeting on Thursday, the Somaliland Cabinet of Ministers, chaired by the President Muse Bihi Abdi flanked by his VP Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail, practiced social distancing as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.
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The cabinet meeting was held at a hall in the presidential palace instead of the regular cabinet room.
The Cabinet of ministers sat at a visible distance from each other with each minister sitting in a table by himself.
Despite none has yet been found positive of the virus, the Republic of Somaliland has taken some measures which interpret the nation’s preparedness for contingencies dealing with the international outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Coronavirus dominated the meeting’s agenda beyond the seating arrangement. The government announced a host of new directives all relating to the spread of coronavirus.
Most important is the cancellation of all developmental projects in the 2020 fiscal year. The cabinet also announced tax relief for all medical supplies related to combating the pandemic.
The meeting decided that the Vice President and the Minister of Finance, Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail ‘Zeili’i’ and Dr. Saad Ali Shire, respectively, join the National Preparedness Committee.
The cabinet further decided to form a special committee for coronavirus preparedness in the capital Hargeisa since its home to the largest population. All incoming medical supplies will be exempted from taxation.
According to a statement by the presidential palace, the government will also buy up the domestic agricultural output this year. However, the statement did not mention the rationale for this step or how it will be carried out.
Finally, the cabinet decided that this will be the last face-face meeting of ministers saying vaguely that all following meetings will be conducted using technology.
It was only a day before that Somaliland locked down its borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, halted all gatherings, let go of the bulk of its civil service forces and decreed that all new arrivals at Hargeisa’s Egal international airport will go through a 14-day quarantine and that Berbera port will only receive food and other essential imports only.