Salone News

President Bio’s Christmas message to the people of Sierra Leone

25 December 2020 at 19:10 | 1206 views

Broadcast to the nation by His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, 23 December, 2020

Nearly eighteen years ago, Sierra Leoneans laid down arms and
embraced one another. Over the last eighteen years, we have
demonstrated through the power of reconciliation and goodwill
towards our fellow Sierra Leoneans that we can, together, rise
up again and rebuild our nation in peace; and together,
triumph over adversity, war, and disease.

It is with the favour and the mercies of God, and the power of
our will as a nation that we have come thus far. So in this
season of goodwill and peace, let us thank every Sierra
Leonean for his or her sacrifice and commitment to the
common purpose of keeping our nation safe and keeping one
another safe through even COVID-19.

Throughout this pandemic, my Government has provided
proactive leadership guided by data, science, and expert
advice. We have kept our country’s case fatality ratio way
under 4%. But COVID remains a clear and present danger.
Infections elsewhere in the world have peaked in the last
couple of weeks with news of a new strain of the virus that
spreads more rapidly and is highly infectious. There is a real
threat that the new strain may be imported into this country.
Government is concerned that there has been an upsurge in
the last few days in the numbers of people who are infected
with the Corona virus in Sierra Leone.

This upsurge coincides with increased volumes of airline
passengers arriving over the holiday period and especially with
some of those arriving passengers deliberately providing false
information on health locator forms. This makes it extremely
difficult for Surveillance teams to trace them and their contacts
when their PCR tests turn out to be positive.

There is also general and increasing indifference among the
general public to healthcare directives regarding the proper
wearing of face masks, the proper and frequent washing of
hands, and keeping appropriate social distances.
Government has decided on the following measures. As always,
our measures are well-considered to protect lives and support
livelihoods.

For now, there will be no curfew. That decision may be
reviewed regularly based on case numbers and how
effectively the public adheres to health directives from
NACOVERC.

Places of worship will remain open as long as congregants
adhere to all public health directives.

All arriving airline passengers must complete health
locator forms that must contain correct and verifiable
address, telephone, and other contact information. The
health locator forms and their passports will then be
retained by the Sierra Leone Immigration Department
until those passengers receive negative PCR tests. This
measure will ensure that NACOVERC’s surveillance and
contact tracing teams can easily locate every inbound
passenger and his/her contacts.

The Sierra Leone Immigration Department and law
enforcement agencies have been authorised to track down
all persons who deliberately make false declarations on
health locator and contact forms.

Over this festive season, be well, stay safe, and keep one
another safe. From my family to yours and to all my fellow
Sierra Leoneans, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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