By Ralph Sesay
While addressing the nation on Wednesday evening, on the preparedness of his government in tackling the corona virus, President Julius Maada Bio has called for boots on the ground in case of an imminent outbreak of Corona Virus epidemic in Sierra Leone.
During the address, the President directed that the military immediately deploy in the country’s international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives and advisories.
He recounted that Sierra Leone is threatened by the global corona virus pandemic, which, according to him, is a public health emergency of global concern.
“It is a deadly virus, and it has infected hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, from China and the Far East to Europe, America, and some African countries,’’ President Bio noted.
The President highlighted that the Corona Virus has tested and overwhelmed the organisation, expertise, and vast resources of the healthcare systems of the richest and most advanced countries, including China, America, United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, to name a few.
A quite worried President explained that Corona virus is spread through contact with respiratory droplets through the mouth, eyes, and ears and urged individuals with flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and difficult breathing that last three days, to self-report by calling 117 or the nearest healthcare facility.
President Bio also discloses that our immediate neighbours, Guinea and Liberia have both reported confirmed cases of Corona virus infection.
‘’The deadly Corona virus is in our neighborhood. It is no longer a question of whether the Corona Virus will come to Sierra Leone, it is a question of WHEN,” President Bio noted.
He cited a number of measures already taken by his government a month ago, such as implementing a raft of measures to prevent the incidence of the Corona virus.
‘’We have implemented stringent entry port surveillance measures at our international airport at Lungi and two major land border posts at Gbalamuya and Gendema. We have instituted robust entry port screening, monitoring, and quarantine arrangements,’’ President Bio continued.
President Bio told citizens that he has personally assumed leadership of all preparations and have visited and overseen the diagnostic and isolation units at 34 Military Hospital, the Lungi International Airport Quarantine facility and airport, and the Gbamulaya border post in Kambia.
At all those locations, according to the President and at every public speaking opportunity, he added that he has publicly called for heightened vigilance.
He called on his compatriots not to panic, noting that he has held consultative meetings with fellow Sierra Leoneans right across board, including those persons who managed the Ebola crisis and to his mind, this is a time for close attention to detail, focus, and intense discipline.
By Ralph Sesay