By Uzman Unis Bah
Freetown, Sierra Leone: With coronavirus cases increasing in the country, the spokesperson for SL’s COVID-19 Response, who also doubles as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lawyer Solomon Jamiru, responds to public concerns on the novel coronavirus.
In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Spokesman underscores the reasons for isolation, “We do quarantines as a measure of restriction, to ensure that people exposed to this communicable disease (COVID-19) are prevented from moving. Once they move, they are more likely to infect others.”
“As an EOC, we planned and implemented managed quarantines for very good reasons, and we believe that reason has justification,” Jamiru said.
According to him, The EOC does quarantines at dedicated facilities as long as necessary, but also says “we are not dispensing with the socio-economic dimensions of EOC-managed quarantines”. The Spokesperson assures the public that the EOC is fully aware of concerns emanating from quarantines. “Whether it’s self-isolation or in dedicated quarantine facilities, people get angry and frustrated for several reasons.”
According to Lawyer Jamiru, getting people into quarantine and managing them, is a very tough process, and is faced with many challenges, especially when you have to provide for people who are having children; and it is a lot of pressure on families as well. For how long we can have EOC-managed quarantines, bearing in mind the socio-economic toll? Let’s see.
“We have realized that continuous education on why people are taken into quarantines and the benefits is important. As I said, active discussions are ongoing on quarantine protocols, and let’s see what happens in the coming days.” He states.
Speaking on the daily increase in cases, the Spokesperson said, “And each time I am handed the figures for our daily update, I pray that it were not the case, whether it’s a rise in cumulative positive cases or deaths, or persons going into quarantines. The positive active cases keep increasing because we are getting our surveillance and contact tracing right, and we are testing.”
“But I tell people again that we see an increase in figures because humans are refusing to comply, and we see the reproduction of the virus through lack of social-distancing and refusal to wear face masks. And that is why countries switch from mitigation to suppression (lockdowns) to slow/stop the spread.” He states
To support effective control of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, the spokesperson said, the EOC engages the relevant stakeholders and agencies to better formulate robust monitoring rule for compliance.