The Sierra Leone government has declared a state of emergency in its efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.

President Julius Maada Bio in a televised broadcast said the emergency powers would allow the government to take appropriate actions to protect the country from the devastating effect of the viral pandemic. The state of emergency will last for 12 months.

“The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses immense risk to human beings that can lead to major loss of life and can cause socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone,” President Bio said. 

“This situation requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the corona virus disease in Sierra Leone.”

The country’s parliament on Tuesday began discussing a bill to approve the presidential declaration.

Sierra Leone has not yet confirmed any coronavirus case, but its neighbours Guinea and Liberia have recorded a total of seven cases, as of Tuesday, according to World Health Organization figures.

But officials say in the event it comes into the country, the goal of the state of emergency is to ensure it has the authority to take the necessary decisions to prevent a spread.

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