Bio in a televised broadcast said the move will allow the government to take appropriate decisions to protect the people and the economy from the devastating effect of the viral pandemic.

“The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses immense risk to human beings that can lead to major loss of life and can cause socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone,” the president said.

“This situation requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the corona virus disease in Sierra Leone,” he added.

Sierra Leone has not recorded any case of the viral disease yet, but its neighbors Guinea and Liberia have recorded a total of seven cases, as of Tuesday, according to World Health Organization figures.

The Sierra Leone government’s current focus is to prevent a spillover.

But officials say in the event it comes into the country, the goal of the state of emergency is to ensure it has the authority to take the necessary decisions to prevent a spread.

The decision, according to the president’s declaration, is will last for 12 months.

On Tuesday the country’s parliament began discussing a bill to approve the presidential declaration.