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‘Preventing COVID-19 from detention facilities key in fighting disease’-says Risk Communication Tea

The Risk Communication Team Lead at the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center has said that preventing Coronavirus from entering detention facilities is pivotal in eradicating the disease.

“We know the virus do not go to places by themselves, it is the individual with the virus that takes it there. This is the more reason why we must guide against it and prevent the disease from entering detention facilities, Patrick Fatorma urged.

The Risk Communication Team Lead was facilitating a training organized by Prison Watch Sierra Leone for Senior Police Officers in Bo.

He said suspects or people going to facilities must be screened thoroughly as part of measures in curtailing the spread of the disease.

“Detention facilities host a number of people and they come from places we don’t know. We also don’t know their status and the more reason why security officers more especially police officers must be vigilant in carrying out their duties,” he said.

He said as senior police officers, you must make sure that people assigned or work directly under your supervision do all they can in preventing the virus entering facilities.

“For any mistake or slackness we do the virus is likely to enter the detention facility and we know how disastrous this will be. Suspects in our custody to not move from place to place neither do they have direct contact with the public. It is us that move from place to place and this is the more reason why we must guide against taking the disease into our centers, he said.”

He said officers must stay at home, even with small symptoms until two weeks without symptoms of the virus.

Mr. Fatorma called on police officers to ensure the testing of staff with suspected COVID-19 cases, as well as those exposed to person with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On the use of force, Mr. Fatorma told the officers present handcuffing and interrupting a fight, and that body searches must be done using guidelines or standard procedures as prescribed.

He added that handling of dead people with possible or known infection, taking temperature or testing for COVID-19 must be done through special guidelines put in place by the institution.

The interactive session witnessed series of questions from police officers who were keen to understand the response mechanism in place and what they need to do while fighting the virus.

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