Coronavirus Is Not A Joke

Every Sierra Leonean may have heard about the devastating virus called Corona that originated in the People’s Republic of China in late December 2019, and has spread to nearly 200 countries across the globe, including tiny Sierra Leone, which yesterday Monday 30th March, 20202 confirmed a new case – one Abdulai Jalloh, who arrived in Sierra Leone on 16th March, 2020 onboard Brussels Airlines but was quarantined immediately he arrived.

As President Dr. Julius Maada Bio told the nation in his broadcast on the 19th and 26th of March 2020, we do not need to panic and that together we can overcome any threat posed to our nation by the virus through collective responsibility and collective action. As the President highlighted in his 2nd March, 2020 broadcast to the nation, “the Coronavirus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

“The rapid global spread of the Coronavirus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation therefore requires effective measures to prevent, protect and curtail the spread.”

Remembering what happened to us during the Ebola outbreak, we should think that Corona is a very serious threat to our existence as a nation. To put it in a global perspective, it has attacked over 500, 000 people in nearly 200 countries globally and done considerable damage to the economies of the People’s Republic of China, Europe and the United States of America where it has been most prevalent since its outbreak.

There is no need to panic. We should only remember that it took the collective resolve and involvement of the entire nation to defeat and push Ebola out of our country.

We should not forget that it was only when we all collectively decided to fully implement the prevention measures that were announced by the government and international health authorities in all the nooks and crannies of the country that we started reporting success stories of rolling back the disease from our communities, villages, towns and cities that brought us down to zero infection and ultimately declaration that we were free from Ebola by WHO.

Once more, the government has announced a raft of measures which if strictly complied to would ensure that even if we have a case of the corona virus among us, it can be quickly detected and responded to by the health authorities.

These include, first and foremost, reporting any severe fever, running, nose, tiredness that lasts more than three days to the nearest health center or to call the toll free 117 line for immediate help.

Number two; we should increase the level of personal cleanliness and hygiene inside out houses and within our living spaces. This includes bathing daily with soap and clean water, washing our hands frequently with soap and water, using hand sanitizer where this is available, and keeping distance from each other.

Great concern has been raised by citizens about how porous our land borders with Guinea and Liberia are, which the President has ordered closed and the integrity of our security officers and local authorities in those border communities to strictly monitor the borders to ensure that nobody goes out and comes in without been screened.

This is the most critical time for spread of the disease, as it is expected to peak between this month and the next two to three months. It is within that period that more cases and deaths are reported. There is the need for us all to be extra vigilant in ensuring that we voluntarily adhere to the prevention measures announced by the ministry of health and the president.

 Religious, traditional, community leaders, CSOs, the media, teachers, those who the people listen to should be relentless in taking the message of what the disease is, how it is contracted, and how to prevent oneself from catching it to the people.