Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 March, 2020:
Yesterday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio had discussions at State House with the former members of the National Ebola Response Programme, as part of his government’s preparedness for the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Sierra Leone, unlike her neighbouring West African sister countries has managed to remain corona-free so far.
During the meeting, Chief Minister Professor David John Francis said that the President has directed the use of the Ebola Response experience to strengthen the government’s Coronavirus preparedness.
The chief minister said that the aim of the meeting was for the Ebola Response team to share their experiences in dealing with Ebola with the government, so as to strengthen preparations.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Alpha Wurie, said that the virus is now closer to the country because all the other countries within the Mano River Union, apart from Sierra Leone have contracted the virus.
He said that Sierra Leone has the experience of the Ebola, noting that it is good to engage those who were at the helm of the 2014/2015 Ebola outbreak.
Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre, Retired Major Alfred Paolo Conteh (Photo above: Far left), said that the President and his government are on the right path for bringing them on board to share their experiences.
He said that the coronavirus fight requires everyone on board to avoid a repeat similar to the Ebola outbreak, and assured that he is fully ready to serve in the interest of the country.
President Julius Maada Bio said that the footprint of the coronavirus is uncomfortably closer, and that Sierra Leone is the only country within the MRU without any case of the virus yet.
He said that he wants the country to use its experience in dealing with the Ebola to mobilise every Sierra Leonean to be a fighter against the coronavirus.
“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.