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State of Emergency is still in force

...warns NERC boss

NOVEMBER 10, 2014 By Mabel Whenzle

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) has maintained that the State of Emergency declared by President Ernest Bai Koroma three months ago is still in force and is expected to run for a one-year period.

Addressing newsmen in Freetown last week, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh frowned at people whom he said are bent on derailing the national efforts to contain the spread of the Ebola virus “by spreading malicious rumours regarding a lockdown and making hoax calls to the 117 call centre”. This, according to the NERC chief, poses a serious threat to the Ebola fight.

To promptly deal with new infections, the former Defence Minister said the treatment centre at Kerry Town has been completed and handed over to the non-governmental organization, Save the Children. He added that with the opening of a new laboratory at Kerry Town, the testing capacity has immensely increased from 250 tests per day to 500. It is expected that the 100-bed capacity treatment centre will serve both medical personnel and the general public, he said.

Conteh underscored the need for the public to report all deaths that occurred in the homes in order to fast-track the burial arrangements of deceased within 24 hours. He urged the public to refrain from harbouring or touching the sick and encouraged family members whose loved ones may have fallen ill to take them to treatment centres for proper and prompt medical attention.

“Those who are hospitalized and ended up dying of other ailments apart from Ebola will be accorded normal funeral rites. However, a copy of the patient’s hospital chart, death certificate and stamped and signed letter from a medical doctor stating the cause of death will be required,” he added.

Moreover, the NERC CEO commended survivors of the deadly Ebola virus and pleaded with community members to stop stigmatization them and to accept them back into their various communities.

Conteh lauded the efforts of community leaders in Kenema and Kailahun districts for ensuring that their people adhere to the warning of health professionals; an attitude he said has resulted in the drastic reduction in the number of new infections within those communities.

He encouraged other districts to emulate the good example of Kenema and Kailahun.

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