October 1, 2022

President Julius Maada Bio has been hailed by the diplomatic community for the government’s response to the Corona Virus pandemic also known as COVID-19.
The commendation for President Bio was made in a meeting by representatives of the diplomatic community with His Excellency at the Presidential lodge in Freetown.
In her opening statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Madam Nabeela Tunis thanked the diplomats for honouring the invitation to meet and discuss issues of great importance to their individual and collective partnerships.
President Julius Maada Bio spoke about government’s response to the Corona Virus which he described as “early and well considered.”
The President noted that even before the country recorded its index case, government and its partners had triggered off healthcare protocols, reactivated all emergency operation centre pillars and set up structures for quarantining, testing, disease surveillance, contact tracing and isolation and treatment centres.
“I salute you and associate strongly with focused and intensive multilateral global effort by countries and international organisations including the United Nations, WHO, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and ECOWAS, among others, in battling this highly infectious and deadly pandemic,” President Bio appreciated the diplomatic community.
“Sierra Leone is committed to all global efforts at preventing, protecting against and curtailing COVID-19. Sierra Leone is fully supportive of global initiatives to enhance health security and build capacities for responding to health emergencies, especially disease outbreaks that threaten global development,” he said.
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Ibrahim Habis Ugbada appreciated President Bio for the effort in curbing the COVID-19 in the country, saying that because of his outstanding qualities, the spread of the virus in the country had been slow.
He also commended the government for its good work, and assured of their availability at all times in every aspect of development and support to the government.
Resident Coordinator for the United Nations, Sunil Salgal, said they condemned and would continue to condemn to all forms of violence, adding that the focus of everyone should be on fighting the COVID-19 and to make sure it did not have a further negative impact on society.
He also called on all political parties to refrain from violence of all sorts and support the national effort in fighting the virus.
Head of European Union Delegation, TomVens, commended the President for his engagement with leaders of civil society groups, noting that they were encouraged by the initiative and leadership shown by the President in creating space for dialogue with civil society organisations.
He said, as partners, they were against the act of violence or intimidation that was standing in the way of the country moving forward.
COVID-19 first broke out in Guwan Province in China sometime in November last year. The virus spread fast in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands in the world.
Over a million infections of the virus have been detected worldwide and a great number are in quarantine and treatment facilities.
Sierra Leone recorded the first COVID case on 31st March this year, the date the ban on all public schooling was announced by government.
Prior to the detection of the first case, President Julius maada Bio took preventive measures to forestall the outbreak of the virus in Sierra Leone.
The measures include: the closure of the countries air land and sea and borders, imposition of a ban on worship in churches and mosques, stoppage of public schooling, pronouncement of social distancing and most importantly the proclamation of a state of public emergency across the country.
The state of emergency being a necessary tool for the fight against the virus was followed by the pronouncement of a dusk-to-dawn curfew, inter-district restriction on movement of persons and intermittent waves of lockdowns to contain the virus spread.
Majority of Sierra Leoneans generally complied with the measures in all Presidential proclamations on COVID-19 measures.
President Bio, who took part in the campaign against Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in May, 2014 is fully equipped with first-hand experience in combating pandemics.
One of the key strategies employed by President Bio in the campaign against COVID-19 was the resurrection of the defunct Emergency Operations Centre, one of the structures used to fight Ebola in the country.
The EOC resurrection was also accompanied by the appointment of key officials who took part in the fight against the Ebola Virus almost six years back.
The recent appointment of the former Minister of Information and Communication, Alpha Khan of the main opposition, All People’s Congress was a clear testimony.
The former head of the Office of National Security, an institution that coordinates security in Sierra Leone, Brigadier Kellie Conteh heads the EOC.
The two former government officials played an important role in the fight against the Ebola Virus in the country.
Contact tracing, surveillance, public education and constant community engagement by EOC officials and government is also a key measure.
President Bio could also not rule out the cooperation and support business institutions operating in the country.
Owing to the proactive stance of the President, Sierra Leone was the last to record a COVID-19 case in the Mano River Basin.
To date, Sierra Leone has the lowest number of COVID-19 cases and casualties in West Africa, but still no evidence of complacency on the part of the President.
President Julius Maada Bio however has been requested by the international community to engage key stakeholders to ensure peace and stability in the country.
The President is working towards creating the platform for peace and dialogue.