The President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio has in a state broadcast on Tuesday, 31st March 2020 confirmed the country’s first case of Coronavirus Disease.
The patient is 37 year-old Abdulai Jalloh who came from France to Sierra Leone on the 16th March 2020.
Prior to this pronouncement, Sierra Leone was the only West African nation and among few others in the world left not to have recorded a case of COVID-19.
“In my first address to the nation, I indicated that it is not a matter of whether but when, ladies and gentlemen, the when is here.
“I have called this press conference today to announce that Sierra Leone has registered it first index case, Case No. 1 is imported, he is a male, 37 years old and came to Sierra Leone from France on Air Brussels flight on the 16th of March 2020”, he informs.
The patient he said had been in quarantine for the past fourteen (14) days and was due to discharge on Monday, 30th March when he started experiencing symptoms of the virus and tests later proved positive.
“Now as a nation, we should know that every minute matters”, President Bio warns.
On Monday, 30th March 2020, President Bio appointed Brigadier (Rtd) Kellie Hassan Conteh as interim coordinator for the Coronavirus Emergency Response Team in a bid to express vigilance in stopping the virus from entering into Sierra Leone.
The President in his statement also informed that Government has activated the Emergency Operation Center to level two (2) with all attendance pillars and pole position with testing, isolation and treatment facilities to care for the sick.
“In the last few days, we have received additional equipment and supplies. Let me reassure every citizen that our healthcare facilities are safe and ready and the health workers are trained and ready to response to any case”, he maintained.
President Bio continued by admonishing Sierra Leoneans that the safest place to get comprehensive medical care is the hospital.
He also informed Sierra Leoneans of Government’s engagement with development partners in seeking their interventions in a bid to soften the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s social and economic life and to support and protect our vulnerable inner society.
The government before this time brought up strict measures including the ban on travel, social and public gathering, the declaration of a public state of emergency and the closing of land borders between Mano River Union neighbours in a bid geared towards preventing the ravaging global pandemic from entering into Sierra Leone. Measures as situation dictates on the ground have proved futile.
The President in ensuring that the COVID-19 Disease does not escalate in the country, order into effect the following measures:
Health teams to actively seek out compulsorily test on all suspected cases of Coronavirus;
The Government of Sierra Leone COVID-19 Response Team is now fully activated which is going to be led by Rtd. Brig. Kellie Hassan Conteh who is the Minister of Defense.
As he reiterates that the present situation is not a lock down, President Bio urged all citizens to observe all hygiene and social distancing protocols.