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As ‘Operation Western Area Surge’ continues…

Surveillance team sent to Port Loko

February 5, 2015 By Patrick J. Kamara & Isata Janneh

GOOD MOVE … NERC CEO, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh
GOOD MOVE … NERC CEO, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh

The second phase of ‘Operation Western Area Surge’ will continue beyond the stipulated 4 February termination date for the next one week, according to Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Center (NERC), Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh.

While responding to a question posed by Concord Times’ ace reporter, Mohamed Massaquoi, on when the surge will end, the NERC boss said they were facing difficulties of disbursement of funds which has created delay in the drawdown of health workers.

Mr. Conteh, who was speaking to journalists at the former Special Court building on Jomo Kenyatta Road in Freetown, said the rise in the new confirmed cases in the Western Area and Port Loko few days ago was as a result of community leaders neglecting their responsibilities in their various communities.

He said a surveillance team has been sent to Port Loko to take a close look at the district and to implement robust measures to halt the spread of the virus.

“Our latest figures suggest that in the week of 26 January, there were 80 new confirmed cases, a rise from 65 cases the week before. There is evidence that the virus is being allowed to spread again but soon we will start counting zero case,” he assured.

Rtd. Major Conteh noted that unsafe burials, washing of dead bodies and increased public activities like marriages and funerals have been rampant in recent times, and that they were the most dangerous practices which aid the spread of the virus.

He said the 117 call line has informed him that the call alert for safe burials and surveillance has dropped.

He pleaded with the public to stop washing and burying corpses secretly, caring for sick at homes and communities, as the disease will never leave us until those practices are abandoned.

He added that the country was at the bumpy road to zero and urged that people must take all the necessary precautions to win the fight.

He disclosed that there were only 86 patients in treatment centers across the country.

Meanwhile, the country yesterday posted 21 new cases with Kambia posting the highest, 8, followed by Port Loko 6, and the Western Area Urban 4. Western Area Rural recorded 2, while Moyamba registered just 1.

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