Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 April 2020:
President Bio has appointed an eminent group of Sierra Leonean doctors and scientists in and out of the country, to help the government assess, plan and evaluate the government’s response in addressing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has so far taken the lives of two people, with over 60 cases now confirmed.
The Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for Emergencies (STAGE) as president Bio refers to it, will be chaired by Dr Nellie Bell, who herself has just made a staggering recovery from the COVID-19 virus.
Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 National Response Spokesperson – Solomon Jamiru, yesterday commented on the government’s response so far in tackling the pandemic. This is what he said:
“Today, I took some time to glance through the tabloids and listen to a couple of radio programs. The good thing is, Sierra Leoneans are very optimistic that we will compel Covid-19 to submission. However, there are concerns about availability of critical materials. I believe your concerns are legitimate.
“Government and partners will continue making the augmenting of stockpiles a core priority. PPEs, ventilators, test kits, etc are much needed in this fight; and we will spare no effort at supporting our healthcare workers in the frontline and those deserving treatment and care at the centres.
“On talks about a pending lockdown, suffice to say, all options are on the table. Sierra Leoneans fully understand that in a public emergency of this sort, we have to be ready to take all measures necessary, and that may include a lockdown. We continue to salute all for our resilience and huge sacrifice at personal social discomfort.
“I note that there is growing public demand for timely information. This is a duty we owe Sierra Leoneans. Timely information is essential at a moment like this, and should be the case at all times, whilst also making room for justifiable exceptions. But largely, whether good or bad, the people have the right to know.
“The right to access information is statutorily guaranteed. I often say, if your news is stale, then the taste of your steak diminishes. We commit to keeping the public informed accordingly.
“Currently, two cases of death have been recorded, a 76 year old male taken to Connaught Hospital with comorbidity, whose test result posthumously proved positive; and today, a 69 year old male taken to Choithram Memorial Hospital who proved to be a positive case, and died just when the ambulance was taking him to 34 Military Hospital treatment Center. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families. Four more cases as we know, have recovered (totalling 10 recoveries).
“We note that all cases at the isolation centres continue to be in very stable condition, and the two deaths reported were not from the isolation cases. We have every reason to be thankful to God and to remain optimistic that this is a fight we must win.
“I continue to thank you all for your comments, questions, and suggestions, and reiterate my pledge to continue this engagement as much as I can.”
See list of members of the president’s STAGE below: