Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio has this afternoon made a snap public broadcast on television to inform the public that one of his bodyguards has tested positive with COVID-19, and has been in an isolation centre.
His announcement comes after growing speculation that a senior government minister as well as two members of the president’s household, including a child and a nanny are being treated for the virus. This story was reported in the Sierra Leone Telegraph last weekend, but was denied by State House officials.
Although the president said that members of his family are well, this has not dampened speculations either, after unconfirmed report from medial sources disclosed that a member of the Bio family, a nanny and a government minister are receiving private treatment.
In the last hour, BBC reporter – Umaru Fofanah said: “Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio is to go into a 14-day self-isolation after one of his bodyguards tested positive for Covid19. In an address to the nation, he said the bodyguard had been in quarantine and eventually tested positive for the disease but that no member of his family was showing any symptoms of the disease. His spokesman, Keketorma Sandy told me that the president would be working from home.”
Responding to this breaking news, the editor of the Awareness Times told the Sierra Leone Telegraph: “His Excellency President of Sierra Leone is to be highly commended for being transparent as he reveals that one of his family’s close protection bodyguards is infected with Covid-19 coronavirus after the security was quarantined for 14 days.
“His Excellency has however stopped short of stating why was the security quarantined in the first place? Essentially, who was the infected contact that necessitated for the First Family’s security guard to be quarantined for 14 days?
“Secondly, there is also no clarity as to whether the said security was one of those assigned to guard the EACON residence complex at IMATT said to be occupied by the children of the First Family. Also, how many security guards of the First Family have been quarantined? There have been so much speculations.
“However, a press conference is expected tomorrow where it is expected the commendable transparency shown by His Excellency will be taken to the next level with answers to the above burning questions from citizens of Sierra Leone.”
This breaking story comes as Sierra Leone today recorded 8 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 43, after six people who successfully completed their treatment at the military hospital in Freetown, were declared free of the virus and discharged yesterday.
There are 37 confirmed cases in isolation centres where they are kept under observation, but are in stable condition; and a further 567 kept in quarantine – the ministry of health reports today.
Following calls for the government to partially disclose the identity of those confirmed as COVID-19 positive, it is now hoped that the president having declared that his bodyguard has the virus, could help remove stigmatisation of confirmed cases.