CSO calls for 21 days lockdown
SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Media Center for Governance Reform (MCGR) has called on the government to restrict the movement of people as well as that of vehicles across the country so as to ensure the containment of the deadly Ebola viral disease.
According to the organization’s National Coordinator, Elkass Sannoh, their call came after a critical assessment of the situation especially in the Ebola epicentre districts, coupled with “the incessant deaths of innocent Sierra Leoneans” as a result of the disease.
However, during the weekly government press briefing last week, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Theo Nicol, debunked rumours of an imminent lockdown of the country for 21 days, saying government had no such intention to restrict the movement of people.
Moreover, the government last Friday sanctioned a national lockdown from 18 to 21 September in a new measure to fight the outbreak as the disease continues to spread across the country with the number of deaths increasing on a daily basis.
But Sannoh told Concord Times that it will be extremely difficult for the government and its partners to contain the spread of the disease when people, especially those suspected to have contracted the disease, continue to move from one place to another.
“The justification for our call is that the death toll is increasing on a daily basis and no one, including our President, is safe. Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora are going through stigmatization coupled with the reality that all sectors are currently experiencing an economic meltdown,” he said.
Mr. Sannoh noted that as an organization, they are saddened by the statement of the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Tom Frieden, that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will worsen significantly in the coming weeks.
He called on the government to use the lockdown to test all suspected cases as well as to embark on home visits by nurses to surveillance homes. He also recommended for the closure of all markets/businesses after 12:00pm (midday).
“We also want the government to ban inter-city vehicular movements across the country within the said 21 days, as well as restricting Muslim and Christian congregations. Adequate personal protective equipment should be provided to the police and military patrol teams and medical staff,” he urged.