Liberia’s vice president confirmed to have coronavirus

Jewel Howard-Taylor

Liberia’s health ministry has confirmed that the vice president, who was flown to Ghana on Tuesday for medical care, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials initially denied that Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor was ill with the coronavirus. She is an ex-wife of former jailed Liberian president Charles Taylor.

But Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah said in a statement that the vice president tested positive for the virus on August 10 and was granted permission to travel abroad for treatment.

The 56-year-old flew to Ghana on Tuesday after developing “respiratory complications,” her office said Wednesday.

Liberia’s health sector has remained weak since the country’s civil war ended 17 years ago. Government officials and those who can afford it routinely travel abroad for medical attention.

Liberians have expressed disappointment and frustration over the poor healthcare system.

Since Howard-Taylor became vice president to ex-footballer President George Weah in 2018 under a coalition arrangement, their relationship has been tense and she has often said she’s not treated like the second in command.