Presidential Lodge, Freetown, Thursday 21 May 2020 – Representatives of the Diplomatic Community in Sierra Leone have in a meeting with His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio commended the government’s response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic and condemned all forms of violence in the country.
During her opening statement Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Madam Nabeela Tunis, thanked the diplomats for honouring the invitation to meet and discuss issues of great importance to their individual and collective partnerships.
In his statement, President Bio said that Sierra Leone’s response to the COVID-19 was early and well-considered, noting that even before the country recorded its index case, Government and its partners had triggered off healthcare protocols, reactivated all Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, pillars and set up structures for quarantining, testing, disease surveillance, contract tracing, and isolation and treatment centres.
“I salute and associate strongly with focused and intensive multilateral global efforts by countries and international organisations including the United Nations, the WHO, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and ECOWAS, among others, in battling this highly infectious and deadly pandemic.
“Sierra Leone is committed to all global efforts at preventing, protecting against and curtailing COVID-19. Sierra Leone is fully supportive of global initiatives to enhance health security and build capacities for responding to health emergencies, especially disease outbreaks that threaten global development,” he said.
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Ibrahim Habis Ugbada, appreciated President Bio for the efforts in curbing the COVID-19 in the country, saying that because of his standing qualities, the spread of the virus in the country had been slow. He also commended the government for its good work and assured of their availability at all times in every aspect of development and support to the government.
Resident Coordinator for the United Nations, Sunil Saigal, said that they condemned and would continue to condemn all forms of violence, adding that the focus of everyone should be on fighting the COVID-19 and to make sure it did not have a further negative impact on society. He also called on all political parties to refrain from violence of all sorts and support the national efforts in fighting the virus.
Head of European Union Delegation, Tom Vens, commended the President for his engagement with leaders of civil society groups, noting that they were encouraged by the initiative and leadership shown by the President in creating space for dialogue with CSOs. He said that as partners they were against any act of violence or intimidation that was standing in the way of the country moving forward.
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