Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 February 2021:
Guinea’s Health Ministry yesterday confirmed that four people have died of Ebola at a hospital in the Guinean – Sierra Leone border town of Guerkedou, near the town of Yenga in eastern Sierra Leone.
There are fears this could spark a resurgence of the Ebola pandemic, amid rising number of Coronavirus cases in West Africa.
Exactly six years ago, the first case of Ebola in the region was discovered at the Guerkedou hospital, suspected of having fallen ill of the virus in Sierra Leone and was taken to the Guerkedou hospital in Guinea.
Guinea’s first confirmed case was announced in March 2014, but subsequent research shows that Sierra Leone’s first Ebola case was in February 2014. She was a 37-year-old woman named Sia Wanda Koniono.
Guinea’s health minister – Remy Lamah said yesterday that officials are concerned about the deaths of the four people, the first since the 2013 to 2016 epidemic, when more than 11,000 people died of the Ebola virus.
According to the Director of the Guinea National Health Security Agency – Sakoba Keita, one of the latest victims in Guinea is believed to be a nurse who fell ill two weeks ago and was buried on the 1st of February 2021.
“Among those who took part in the burial, eight people showed symptoms: diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding,” he said. “Three of them died and four others are in hospital.”
Keita also told AFP that one patient had “escaped” but was found and hospitalised in the capital Conakry.
Health officials in Sierra Leone are believed to be putting surveillance measures along the border with Guinea to help forestall any widespread outbreak of the virus in Sierra Leone.
On the 7th of February 2021 the health ministry in the democratic republic of Congo declared another outbreak of Ebola, after one case was detected in the North Kivu province. Since the first case of Ebola was detected in 1976, in the Democratic republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, hence the virus was named after it. The virus has only been suppressed and contained, but they have never got rid of it in the Congo. Scientists have been working on this disease ever since to find a cure, but so far they have drawn blank. That is why the world was full of praise for the work in developing the COVID19 vaccine.
Knowing Bio and his government, and how indecisive he can be, when it comes to taking decisions for the national interest, this is not the time to fret about and say you don’t know what to do. By now he should have held an emergency meeting with top health officials, and come up with an action plan. Our economy is already on its knees as we continue to battle COVID19. With Ebola, that will act like a giant wrecking ball for any hope of early economic recovery. This is a health emergency, and putting surveillance or early warning systems is not enough, given our porous borders. He should order an immediate closure of all border crossing between the two countries, and limit crossing to Liberia. Because Guineans can still use Liberia to get to our country. Deploy the army to monitor people’s freedom of movements not only in the border town of Guerkedou, and irony of all ironies near Yenga in Eastern Sierra leone. Also in the North in the Falaba and Koinadugu district.
Our country can ill afford to fight three pandemics at the same time. Corruption, COVID19, and now that deadly disease Ebola. Now if Alpha Conde wants to close his border as he has been threatening to do in the last few months, there is no better time to do it. The phrase, God works in mysterious circumstances has never been so relevant and applicable like the situation we found ourselves now. May the souls of the Guineans that passed away rest in peace.
A point of correction. Recently developed vaccine against Ebola in the Congo have in fact been tried and seemed to work in helping stop the spread of the virus. Our government needs to look in to that. In my first posting I said Scientist doing research on an Ebola vaccine have drawn blank. Recent outbreaks in the Congo have been contained due to these trials that were carried out in Eastern Congo or DRC.
I hope and pray that the useless people we have in power would be proactive this time round. They should henceforth closed all entries (legal and illegal) into the country. In 2014, the economy was on life support before the Ebola outbreak that squeezed the life out of it. This time, the economy is in coma. Any new outbreak will send the economy to the graveyard. May Jehovah God help us.