Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio declares a State of Public Emergency, says there is no lockdown

State House, Freetown, Tuesday 24 March 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio today declared a state of pubic emergency for 12 months to deal with the threat to lives and the economy by the coronavirus disease, warning that there is no lockdown.  

“By the authority vested in me under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 1991, regarding the declaration of a state of public emergency, it is my opinion that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue, will lead to a state of emergency in Sierra Leone,” he stated, adding that there was the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout the country.

The President noted that the Coronavirus disease was a highly infectious disease that constituted a public emergency of international concern that had been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

While reaffirming the determination of his government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean, President Bio, as Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, also warned: 

“This is not a lockdown and nobody must use this as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices, or engage in acts of lawlessness. This public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable. We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.

“The rapid global spread of the coronavirus poses a great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation, therefore, requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the coronavirus diseases in Sierra Leone.

“We believe that the actions that we take as a Government, will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation,” he concluded.

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