It is the duty of the media to flag issues that are of national importance. Therefore, we will be remiss in our sacred duty if we fail to speak out about the apparent lackadaisical attitude of our health ministry in relation to the spread of the ‘China Coronavirus.’ When we raised our voice over Ebola we were castigated. They said we were shouting wolf when we had not seen any rat. The arrogance of the then ministry officials caused the deaths of hundreds. This is why we must and will not keep silent. In the last 24 hours the pneumonia causing virus has spread from Wuhan where it is believed to have originated and the Chinese government have now locked down three (3) cities to prevent it from spreading even further. The virus which is now known to be easily transferable to humans is now spreading in Asia almost by the hour. As at Press time suspected cases of the virus had been found in over half a dozen countries including Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the U.S. and Singapore. The World Health Organisation which has stopped short of declaring a global emergency says “the virus spreads more easily than previously thought.” This is scary. It is like Ebola all over again. The denial from last week that it is transferable to humans, to the subtle acceptance and now the spread in leaps and bounds. The question is, with all the sophistication that China has, along with their world class health system boosted by incredible research and innovation, yet they are looking very helpless in curbing the spread, how safe are we in Sierra Leone with a very rotten health care system?
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This is why we must not keep quiet, because given the Chinese population that we have, doing mining and large scale construction and the fact that we are receiving travellers from China almost on a daily basis; when our health officials fail to draw attention to the dangers and proactively inform the populace of the clear and imminent danger, then we must shout to the roof tops. The Health Ministry cannot keep silent at this time. We cannot wait to experience another devastating attack on the very fabric of our nation. The Health Ministry must now put in place screening measures at our airport and all official entry points. Most importantly this should not be done quietly because publicizing these measures will increase the confidence of the populace that at least this government cares for their well being. Let it be known that we will not fail to ruthlessly apportion blame if anything untoward happens. We have said it and we will do it. We will never allow anybody to play politics with the lives of Sierra Leoneans anymore. Never again.
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