State House, Freetown, Monday 16 March 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has engaged members of the National Ebola Response Centre, NERC, as part of government’s preparedness to tackle any Coronavirus, COVID-19, in the country.
During the meeting, Chief Minister Professor David John Francis said that the President had directed the use of the Ebola Response experience to strengthen the government’s Coronavirus enhanced preparedness, adding that the Ebola Response team was meeting the President to share their experience.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Alpha Wurie, said that the virus was now closer to the country because all the other countries within the Mano River Union, MRU, apart from Sierra Leone had contracted the virus. He said that the country had the experience of the Ebola, noting that it was good to engage those who were at the helm of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak.
Former Chief Executive Officer of the NERC, Rtd. Major Alfred Paolo Conteh, said that the President and his government were on the right path for bringing them on board to share their experience. He said that the fight required everyone on board to avoid a repeat of the Ebola outbreak and assured that he was fully ready to serve in the interest of the country.
In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio said that the footprint of the Coronavirus was uncomfortably closer, saying that Sierra Leone was the only country within the MRU without any case of the virus yet. He said that he wanted the country to use its experience from dealing with the Ebola to mobilise every Sierra Leonean to be a fighter against the virus.
“We take the experience of the Ebola very seriously and we want to draw on your experience because this is a national duty. We have quite a lot to gain from your experience and we want you to be part of this effort to prevent this virus. We have done quite a lot with more to be done together,” he said.
It could be remembered that as part of the government’s preparedness efforts, President Julius Maada Bio had already conducted assessment tours of the facilities at the Infectious Diseases Prevention Centre at Wilberforce, Lungi International Airport and the Kambia Gbalamuya border with the Republic of Guinea.
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