• April 21, 2020

COVID19 Finally Storms Sierra Leone Presidency

COVID19 Finally Storms Sierra Leone Presidency
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By Joseph A. Kamanda

While of the other leaders are busy relaxing restriction measures across the globe, Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Monday 20th April announced the deadly invasion of the country’s the presidency by the coronavirus and COVID19 disease.

President Bio made the statement following result proves that one of his presidential guards were tested positive of COVID19, and reassured all that his family is in a safe and sound status as they ‘have shown no symptoms,’ adding that they are paying attentions to all precautionary measures being prescribed the COVID19 response centre.

He confessed that after fourteen days of quarantine one of his security staff was tested positive of the COVID19 disease, and thus warned all that when once people feel or experience flu like symptoms, dry coughs, difficult breathing should report to 117 for emergency medical support of the COVID response team.

President Bio said he and his family are paying attention to the relevant health precautionary measures, but stopped short from explaining further as whether they (the entire first family) were going to be subjected to the normal quarantine and observatory principles like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did before even he was relocated to the Saint Thomas Hospital proper medical attention.

That State House, the Office of the President and Presidential Lodge at Hill Station now remain highly COVID19 invested vicinities then we all must be worried for our safeties and those places must be immediately declared as no go areas before the virus keep spreading to other vulnerable contacts.

For such highly secured communities to be penetrated by the coronavirus and COVID19 after all preventive measures that have been put in place by government is a matter of national health security concern that deserves urgent attention. It however appears as if Sierra Leone is losing the battle to the virus, even though no death has been recorded so far.

This is scary plight for the presidency, the people of Sierra Leone and the country as a whole much as staying safe, either at home or places of work are concerned. Thus the government must take into considerations the severity of the situation knowing fully that Sierra Leoneans lives matter in all of these.

Moreover, the situation at hand does not require to be treated with ease and complacence as if Sierra Leone is on top of it all but to know exactly who does what, how and from where, so that contacts can be properly traced to cut the chain of transmission at and around the country’s presidency.

It is unimaginable to learn that from the colonial seat of power, at No. 10 Downing Street where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is just recovering from severe embattlement with the COVID19 disease, to Aso Rock in Abuja the Federal Republic of Nigeria leaving the FG’s Chief of Staff dead, and now at Fort Thornton, the seat of power here in Freetown, the Office of the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Is it that our ‘headless’ leaders are losing the war to the demonic virus or beating it to save the lives of Sierra Leoneans? Our leaders must brace up now to eradicate the health pandemic from Sierra Leone.

President Bio is said to be going into a fourteen days quarantine otherwise known as self-isolation. Ruling party social media activists failing to accept that their leader is now a COVID19 suspect, say he starts working from home on Tuesday 21st April, 2020 until the end of the stipulated quarantine period is over. And all of these disclosures emerged following the declaration of one of the president’s security staff was tested positive of the Covid19 disease.

Loved ones and well-wishers on Social Media thanked president Bio for informing the nation about the present state of affairs, while others continue to wish him successful two-three  weeks quarantine period, instead of a self-isolation as reported by one of his media handlers purporting to work for the BBC world Service.

What is more needed in such critical situation are further details on government’s level of preparedness in handling the global health pandemic in Sierra Leone, especially in a country with little or no means of proper treatment, considering the lack of expertise and medical facilities countrywide to contain the spread of COVID19.

As on Monday 20th April alone, eight (8) positive COVID19 cases were recorded, making it all a total of thirty-seven (37) confirmed cases, with five hundred and sixty-seven (567) still in quarantine and one thousand and fifty (1,050) have so far been discharged from quarantine.

To that end, president Bio continues to reassure the public of his administration’s firm commitment in containing the spread of COVID19 amidst emerging challenges in the national fight to cut the chain of transmission.

Incredibly, many times the public is being informed about measures being put in place by government to contain COVID19 so the news of one of president Bio’s closed protection guards being infected with the infectious virus was so shocking to the people, to the point that everybody now appears unsafe under the present leadership of the pandemic response team.

It could be recalled that in early April, there have been series of speculations in new and traditional media over the health status of the wife of the president, First Lady, Fatima Bio and the president step son since they both returned home from different destinations.

The young was said to have returned from Francis whiles his mum the president’s wife Mrs Bio too was said to have returned home from The Gambia, after government had placed ban on traveling by all public officials, but no actions were directed towards their disregard for the ban.

Social media platforms have in last three weeks or so been awash with discussions on their hidden COVID19 status and secretive quarantine procedures elsewhere in Freetown, but authorities pay no heed to that. Rather rebuttals went viral on Facebook defending Mrs Bio of not having COVID19, neither her son, though she has not been seen in public for several weeks now.

It is unclear how the presidential security staff got infected. Whether from his posting at the said self- isolation of certain members of the ‘president’s family’ elsewhere at the Mountain Rural district remains vague.

And all what the public is aware of is that one of the president’s security staff has been infected with COVID19 virus, though speculations are that guards were deployed at a particular location to provide security to ‘people very closed to the presidency.’

President Bio should therefore twitching the search for the virus right from his very feet before stepping out to engage on any community engagement and social mobilization with traditional leaders soon after his resurrections from quarantine.

Also, health workers assigned to the president should from the date of announcement of the first COVID19 positive case at the presidency, should be conducting regular tests on all personnel working with the president as well as those who come to see him irrespective of their social and political status, so as to be fully assured of everybody’s health and COVID19 free status around the first gentleman of the republic. Safety starts from the top!

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