Sierra Leone lifts last major Ebola quarantine as cases recede

admin   •   August 17, 2015   •   2804


A health worker wearing protective gear stands outside a quarantine zone in a Red Cross facility in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone December 18, 2014. REUTERS/BAZ RATNER

Sierra Leone lifted its last major Ebola quarantine on Friday as President Ernest Bai Koroma expressed confidence that the country would soon be free of the virus.

The more than 500 residents of the northern village of Massessebeh gathered in the streets, singing and waving palm branches, after Koroma cut a piece of tape used as a cordon.

“I am sure within August we will start counting the first 21 days of zero (new cases),” said Koroma, referring to the incubation period of the virus. “I believe we cannot go back, we can only go forward.”

Sierra Leone now has just two confirmed Ebola patients, he added.

The 18-month epidemic has killed more than 11,200 people in West Africa but case numbers have fallen sharply, with just one reported in Sierra Leone and two in Guinea last week.

Neighboring Liberia, which has the highest death toll from the epidemic, has no current cases.

Ya Amie Koroma, 85, no relation to the president, stood in front of her house and danced to celebrate the end of the three-week quarantine.

“All I want now is to see my great-grandchild,” she said. The baby was born in a health facility outside the village.

Other Massessebeh residents say the quarantine period, imposed after just one resident died from the virus, has been gruelling despite daily provisions of food and water by the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

Ramatu Sankoh, 20, is one of three women who had to give birth in isolation during the quarantine.

“I did not feel good living under quarantine because I was pregnant and my husband, who would normally go out to fend for us, could no longer do so because of the restrictions,” she told Reuters, clutching her newborn baby.

A 14-year-old girl, Emma Kamara, said she had not seen her parents for weeks, since they were out working at a mine when the quarantine was enforced.

Small communities of a few dozen people remain under quarantine in other parts of the northern Tonkolili district and in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Poe calls on PhilHealth, DBM to expedite release of funds to hospitals, health workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to expedite the release of funds to hospitals and health workers.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, our hospitals must be adequately staffed and stocked with the needed supplies. They can only do so if they themselves aren’t bleeding. We ought not to exacerbate an already tenuous situation by demoralizing our medical frontliners,” Poe said.

There were also reports from medical workers that they hardly felt the billions of pesos allocated for frontliners under the Bayanihan 1 and 2. There were also medical workers who have yet to receive their special risk allowance.

“We must do our utmost for the health sector and ensure that our medical frontliners and hospitals are paid to enable them to look after the sick and save lives. For as long as this isn’t done, our situation will just drag on,” Poe reiterated.

She said that calls on these two agencies for the timely release of funds needed to combat the pandemic have been repeatedly made by various institutions.

The government should also provide enough assistance in the next two weeks so the public wouldn’t need to go out of their homes and risk contracting the disease or being accosted by the police.

“People will not insist on going out if they can put food on the table. They wouldn’t have to go out if their needs are met,” Poe said. -AAC

Año orders increase of police visibility in hospitals, bring health worker assailant to justice

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 1, 2020

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to increase police visibility in hospitals after a health worker was assaulted in Sultan Kudarat.

“The last thing they need right now is discrimination when all they do is save lives and protect each and every one of us from an enemy we cannot see,” Año said in a statement.

The DILG also strongly condemns the said assault and also called on the PNP to bring the assailants to justice.

“I have directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to make sure that the perpetrators of the assault against the health worker in Sultan Kudarat will face justice at the soonest possible time,” according to Año.

Meanwhile, the DILG Secretary has directed the local government units (LGUs) to provide free transport for the health workers to make sure they are protected. AAC

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)


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