The measures was announced by President Julius Maada Bio on Wednesday in a nationwide address on the country’s state of preparedness for the pandemic.
Sierra Leone is the only country in the Mano River Union that hasn’t recorded a case of the virus yet, after its closest neighbors – Liberia and Guinea have recorded a total of three cases in the last
According to President Bio, the military will enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives and advisories. “It is no longer a question of whether the coronavirus will come to
Sierra Leone, it is a question of when,” President Bio said in the statement broadcast on all television and major radio stations across the country.
He used the address to call on Sierra Leoneans to change their ways of life, like stopping handshake.
President Bio also called on citizens to exercise vigilance and to report to health authorities any sign and symptoms of the viral infection.
The presidential address comes amidst growing public concern over the country’s preparedness for the virus. There have even been calls for the government to shut down the country’s airport. Bio ruled that out, noting that the actions and preventive measures recommended for individuals and communities were critical to ensuring that there was no lockdown.
“We are determined to prevent the incidence and spread of the virus. But we are also extremely cautious that like Ebola, by the time we identify one positive case, we would have had several dozen disease contacts. We cannot afford to wait for a positive case,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic, which began in China last December, has spread to over 150 countries as of March 17, according to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO). Over 30 African countries have recorded cases of the virus.