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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Freetown urges gov’t to revisit airline travel ban

Addressing Sierra Leoneans, Daramy confirmed that The Gambia transport minister four days ago ordered  airlines operating in The Gambia “not to pick up passengers in Freetown, Liberia and Conakry as bound passengers to Banjul” due to what they referred to as suspected cases of the deadly Ebola virus in these neighbouring countries.

Acting on the suspension of the airlines from Freetown to Banjul, High Commissioner Daramy, wrote a letter to the Gambian authorities supported with “practical and technical evidence” denying the existence of any confirmed cases of the Ebola virus anywhere in Sierra Leone.

The chief medical officer in the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr Brima Kargbo, wrote a letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on April 12 stating that there is no laboratory confirmed case of Ebola in his country. The report added that so far, rumoured suspected cases have been tested using RT- PCR and ELISA and all proven to be negative for Ebola.

“However,” Dr Brima Kargbo said, “the country remains to be vigilant with epidemiological surveillance and increased awareness raising activities on the risks factors of Ebola and for individual personal protection around the borders of Sierra Leone.”

The chief medical officer, further added that the country has Metaboita Inc and Tulane University (A US-based research institute) supporting the effort of the country in addition to WHO. The supporting technical documents validating the High Commission’s stance of no known cases of the Ebola virus existing in Sierra Leone at this moment were attached and forwarded to the Gambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ease of reference

“High Commissioner Daramy as a result of these overwhelming facts wishes the Gambian government and authorities to be apprised of the embarrassment and discomfort the action and inactions of The Gambia airlines has caused on the free movement of Sierra Leoneans to The Gambia and international visitors travelling out of Sierra Leone through The Gambia Bird,” the Sierra Leone Express Media stated.

Deputy Ambassador Haja Saidata Sesay said her government will highly appreciate revisiting of the decision taken by the airlines to further harmonise the longstanding relationship between the two sisterly countries.

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