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Mixed reaction trails three days ‘sit at home’

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 By Matthew Jabby

President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone

President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone

Freetown residents interviewed by Concord Times have expressed mixed reactions over the nationwide three days ‘sit at home’ pronounced by the government of Sierra Leone last week.

The lockdown is set to commence next week from 19 to 21 September as part of ‘extraordinary’ measures by the current administration to contain the rampaging Ebola virus which in less than six months has spread to all but one of the country’s 12 districts.

Hawa Conteh, a petty trader, expressed that though the Ebola virus is real and puts everybody’s life at risk, the three days ‘sit at home’ will have adverse effect on her business. According to her, she is a widow with several dependants, who all survive by proceeds from her business.

“I am not against the three days ‘sit at home’, but the government should provide certain assistance to sustain us at home,” she said.

While on Radio Democracy FM 98.1 ‘Good Morning Salone’ on Monday (8 September), Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, was noncommittal as to whether government would provide any assistance in the form of food to the populace.

However, Madam Conteh appealed with the government to allow traders to sell their wares during the three days lockdown.

Mohamed Moseray, a taxi driver, said he was in support of the three days ‘sit at home’, noting that it is a good initiative as the government struggles to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in the country.

He noted that the manner in which the Ebola is spreading in the country is alarming and welcomed the three days ‘sit at home’ to stem the spread of the virus.

Isata Jalloh, a house wife, said she could not understand the rationale for the measure because no provision was made for the country’s six million citizens, adding that even though the virus is real but the government should consider the welfare of the people.

The virus has been spreading since late May when the index case was reported in a remote village in Kailahun district on the border with Guinea. Despite initial assurances by health officers that the country was safe, the disease has killed at least 400 people, with more than a thousand infected.

The virus continues to infect hundreds across the country on a daily basis with the World Health Organisation warning that thousands more will be affected.