World Bulletin / News Desk
The University of Sierra Leone on Saturday held its annual convocation ceremony amid Ebola virus fears.
University students, parents and well-wishers attended the event which was held at Fourah Bay College Mount Aureol in Freetown.
Nevertheless, some people raised concerns over the risks of bringing this large number of people together in one place, while Seirra Leone has not got rid of the Ebola virus or lifted its public health state of emergency yet.
"It is not possible for a big number of people to be clustered together in one place without having frequent body contact," Hawanata Turay, a resident of Freetown told The Anadolu Agency.
"This is worrying," he added.
Princess Kamara, another resident of the Sierra Leonean capital, agreed.
Kamara underlined the importance of preventing body contact for the prevention of Ebola.
"But how can you avoid body contact if you are in a crowded place like this?" Kamara asked.
The convocation ceremony should have been held in December of last year, but it was postponed upon Ebola fears.
In July of 2014, President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of public health emergency across the country, which ushered in several restrictions, including the closure of schools and universities.
University of Sierra Leone Public Relations Officer, Michael Munda Rogers, said the university administration held the ceremony within the framework of law.
"We are not violating the state of public health emergency," Rogers told.
"We have permission from the government to go ahead with this activity because it is long overdue," he added.
He said the university followed all relevant precautionary measures.
Rogers said graduates did not shake hands during the ceremony with the university chancellor or other officials for the first time in the university's history.
"Emotionally, this is not right for the graduates who would love to shake hands [with university officials], but this is the reality and we all would have to put up with it," Rogers said.
He said the university administration had to invite a smaller number of people to the ceremony to reduce risks.
Rogers said the university decided to organize two convocation ceremonies – instead of one – to reduce the number of people present in one place at the same time.Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2015, 10:05