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Sierra Leone declares 12-month public health emergency

Sierra Leone has declared a 12-month public health emergency to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, despite being one of the few African countries with no confirmed cases.

“The rapid global spread of the coronavirus poses an immense risk to human beings that can lead to major loss of life and can cause socioeconomic disruption in Sierra Leone,” said president Julius Maada Bio in a televised speech.

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

The West African nation suffered greatly under the ebola outbreak in 2014, and it appears to be taking no chances during this pandemic.

While epidemiologists have warned the coronavirus crisis could extend for many months, most governments worldwide have announced measures that extend for weeks or months, not an entire year.

Other African countries without confirmed cases include Malawi, which has also declared a national disaster.

South Sudan and until recently Libya – which has just confirmed its first case – add to the list, though this is likely a result of poor detection techniques in conflict situations.

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