Freetown, Thursday March 19 2020: The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Prof. Alpha Wurie has disclosed that Sierra Leone had more corona virus testing equipment than many developed countries in the world way before the virus outbreak.
“Sierra Leone has testing facilities and expertise to cater for at least 35 per one million people daily, while countries like the U.S and others had way below that capacity when the virus struck,” the minister disclosed at a State House Press Conference today
Prof. Wurie assured the public that a special 30-bed treatment facility is ready at the 34 Military Hospital, with further plans to activate a 100-bed facility if the need arises.
The country will however, find it difficult to handle a disease of this nature, he pointed out, while assuring the public that the state of preparedness and implementation is already yielding dividend.
According to him, we conquered Ebola whose mortality rates was over 40% and we can as well defeat Corona which is thus far recording mortality rates of under 5%.
He reiterated that the emergency operation center has been fully activated to level two with all its accompanying logistics including screening, testing/laboratories, quarantining, and treatment facilities.
Three Sierra Leonean doctors fully trained in Brazzaville to handle infectious diseases of this nature will soon return to Sierra Leone as part of the nation’s preparedness against corona virus, he said.
A total of 13 corona suspects have been tested in-country and proved negative, according to Prof. Wurie.
The minister reiterated the president’s message that now is the time for vigilance and not panic.
The health minister pointed out that the current situation does not warrant the closure of schools at this material time at least until the end of the month. He however announced that things could change fast and appropriate recommendations would be made and actions taken.
Prof. Wurie also announced that the president has directed the suspension of all flights to and from Sierra Leone starting March 21 2020.
He said over 200 people are currently under quarantine at the various isolation facilities across the country.
Following the recent quarantine measures announced, we witnessed a surge in the numbers of quarantine cases, thus the accompanying challenges that are now being looked into accordingly, the minister explained.