Danish PM visits Sierra Leone in solidarity

AP News
Posted: Jan 20, 2015 11:44 AM
Danish PM visits Sierra Leone in solidarity

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma applauded the visit of Denmark's prime minister, saying it helps erase stigma and isolation associated with Ebola.

Koroma on Monday greeted Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Monday at the official residence, State House, in the capital.

"Sierra Leone should not be isolated and stigmatized because of the Ebola virus disease," he said.

The current Ebola outbreak has claimed over 8,000 lives, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. It continues to spread in Sierra Leone, with the latest 24-hour update listing 20 new cases in a 24-hour period. Liberia and Guinea have seen new cases drop.

The delegation visited 19 Danish health workers working with the British at an Ebola treatment unit in Northern Port Loko District and saw the Danish ship that brought 105 vehicles to the U.N.'s anti-Ebola campaign, according to Ebun Strasser-King, Sierra Leone's deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation.

The Danish prime minister offered her condolences for the loss of lives in the outbreak. She said she visited to show that Sierra Leone is not alone in this fight.

Koroma lauded the increased international response. He said the government must ensure normal hospital activities are resumed to handle non-Ebola diseases that people also suffer from.

In Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sought help for "post-Ebola" building of roads and health infrastructures, in an appeal Monday to the newly accredited Japanese and EU ambassadors.

Liberia has resumed work on the reconstruction of a highway linking the capital with the northeastern part of the country. The $250 million project was halted when Ebola was spreading and should be finished just a couple months behind the December 2015 scheduled completion date, Public Works Minister William Gyude Moore said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Guinea President Alpha Conde will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to seek investors to help Guinea's economy recover, his press office said. He will call on the international community to maintain maximum mobilization and vigilance until the epidemic is eradicated.


AP writer Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia contributed to this report.