Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 March 2020:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has this afternoon declared a state of public emergency in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus that has engulfed the whole world, killing tens of thousands of people.
Sierra Leone is yet to record a single case, whilst neighbouring Guinea and Liberia have confirmed cases.
Speaking in a tv and radio broadcast, the president warns – “We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.”
This is what he said: “Fellow citizens. By the authority vested in me under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 199, 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.
“The Corona virus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
“The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses 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 corona virus diseases in Sierra Leone.
“Now, therefore, I, Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, having regard to the threat that the corona virus disease poses to the lives of the people and the economy of Sierra Leone, and the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone, do hereby, by this Proclamation, declare that a State of Public Emergency exists in the whole of the Republic of Sierra Leone with effect from today the 24th Day of March 2020 for a period of twelve months.
“As I have stated before, I reaffirm the determination of my government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean. 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.
“We believe that the actions that we take as a Government, will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation. I thank you. God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.” (END).