By: Bampia James Bundu
Strategic Communications Unit,
Ministry of Information and communications
The Ministry of Information and Communications in collaboration with Nich Technology has partnered with the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Center (NaCOVERC) to develop an Electronics Manifest Management Information Systems (eManifest) aimed at implementing the enhanced public health regulations following the easing of travel restrictions by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.
This was made public by the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Mohamed Mumuni Jalloh, during an interview on 7th July 2020, in his office at Youyi Building.
Mr. Jalloh explained that government through the Ministry of Information and Communications instituted this new digitized system to support NaCOVERC and its partners in the implementation of its new enhanced public health regulations mandating all public transport owners to produce passengers manifest before traveling across the country.
He noted that paramount among the new regulations that were instituted after the easing of travel restrictions was the compulsory use of face mask and production of passenger manifest for all vehicles undertaking inter-district traveling.
As a ministry, he said they thought it fit to digitize the passenger manifest system to ensure that passengers traveling within the country log in their details into the manifest so that they can be easily traced in case of infections.
He noted that with this new system there will be no more paper form of manifest in all bus stations or motor parks, as all the drivers have been advised to use the Electronic Manifest Information System App for easy contact tracing in a situation of any traveler traveling with the symptoms.
Mr. Jalloh disclosed that the Ministry, NaCOVERC, and the Drivers Union have trained over two to three hundred drivers, vehicle owners and apprentices on how to use the digitize passengers manifest system App with a view to enabling them register all those traveling in their vehicles and also to be at the safer side of the law.
He disclosed that the Sierra Leone Police, Traffic Warden, and Military personnel have also undergone similar training in order for them to prevail on all commuters from Freetown and other parts of the country.
He called on all drivers to ensure that they use the new system as it is easy to use and can be used from any part of the country without costing them anything.
The system, he said, is free and the App will be available on google play store soonest so that it can be downloaded by everybody.
The Director of Communications stated further that passengers can register themselves into the manifest before going to the bus station which will allow them access without undergoing other registrations.
When asked about the importance of this manifest, Mr Jalloh said it will help NaCOVERC with details of all passengers traveling to and from Freetown for easy contact tracing. “Once a suspected case is noticed from a particular vehicle, it is easy to track all those who were in the same vehicle with that suspected case via the use of the digitized passengers manifest; with this system NaCOVERC will be on top of situation in tracing suspected cases,” he said, adding that they have already developed an enforcement platform that will enable police officers and other enforcement bodies levy fines and collect such fines from defaulters electronically.