Curfews and lockdowns may not be the answer to Covid-19 in Africa

Alhaji U Njai: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 January 2021:

In Africa, curfews and lockdowns as measures to contain COVID-19 infections may probably help to spread the virus among the population rather than slow it down.

Based on my anthropological observations and review of the science around COVID-19, over 90 percent of infections happens indoors or inside confined spaces.

In Sierra Leone, based on observations in Freetown and other areas, people spend less time indoors even in their houses and more time outside.

The 45 markets I have worked with for Freetown City Council look heavily crowded but in terms of COVID-19 transmission, the risk is far lower than if that same population was to be found indoors.

This is likely so because the microdroplets that account for the lingering effects of COVID-19 infections are quickly dissipated in outdoor aerated conditions.

Now, what curfews and lockdowns essentially do is to force us inside the house, which for many of us are tiny with not enough space for social distancing.

The additional transportation rush to beat curfew, create crowded conditions in a more confined vehicle environment.

The net effect of these actions is that you unintentionally drive the spread of the infections than if people were allowed to stay outside more and the rush to take crowded vehicles from curfew is not there.

In fact, these actions of lockdowns and curfews may potentially be linked to the spread of antibodies and immunity we see from initial results in Siera Leone and other African countries.

It is likely that our outdoor cultural lifestyle in Africa may be one among other factors that account for the low incidence of infections despite the crowded nature of our societies.

Proper hand washing, wearing mask and avoiding crowded places are still highly essential to prevent getting infected or spreading the infections.


  1. Talking about vaccines for African countries? Tu parles. Protectionism and hoarding of the vaccines by powerful countries have already begun. Most countries at the forefront of this vaccine production are going to use it as a political tool to gain political advantages in their respective countries in my view. Remember that these vaccines have to be somehow tweaked to be effective against the New variants. So, they are not yet a done deal. There are also many other parameters to examined. However, they will help greatly to reduce the spread of COVID-19 if made available to Sierra Leoneans. I don’t see how you can enforce lockdown in slums as in many areas in Sierra Leone. Argue or Deny.

    President Bio and his Bio SLPP kakistocracy are not even thinking about providing decent low cost housing for the people of Sierra Leone. Many Sierra Leoneans are living in overcrowded rooms making it easy for COVID-19 to be transmitted. Sad. The writer is absolutely right in my view for this statement in his article “Proper hand washing, wearing mask and avoiding crowded places are still highly essential to prevent getting infected or spreading the infections”. But you can’t avoid your only overcrowded room to sleep. Anyway, excellent statement there by Alhaji U Njai. God bless Alhaji U Njai, WHO-COVAX and may God help protect our people.

  2. It is a good article but I just want to make a point of CORRECTION that antibodies and immunity are not “spread”. Antibodies and immunity are only acquired from Contracting the virus and being healed from it or by taking medications and other enhanced life building vitamins etc, that will give you those antibodies. It is not guaranteed that you will not get infected again.But You cannot spread the antibodies you built but you can spread the virus if you do not take steps and measures in preventing others.

  3. Africa and other developing parts of the world will suffer from vaccine inequality for covid 19 just as they did for HIV drugs; as capitalism continues to prioritize profit over morality and humanity.

  4. Covid19 is going to be like the AIDS epidemic. That is, even if we manage to bring it under control through the vaccination roll out and immunisation programmes, progress is going to be slow before everyone that wants the jab gets the jab. There are more than seven billion people aroud the world. A huge logistical challenge to get everyone vaccinated. No one on planet earth is safe till everyone is safe. Sometimes in the future we just have to learn to live with it, and at the same time navigate our lives. One day it will become like the seasonal flu. Africa is a resilient Continent, dealing with all sorts of pandemics, disease, wars, corruption, under development, but we still manage to navigate the way forward. lockdown implemention is by no means the answer to the overall cure of covid19 but part of the Jigsaw of the puzzle to tame the virus, and help slow its spread to the wider public. This virus that is now mutating, likes nothing better than crowds of people not obeying the rules.

    Right now, as its stands and in the absence of the availability of covid19 vacine to our poor country, the only tool we can use to stop it from spreading amongst the general population like wild fires, is to obey the covid19 protocols put in place by the government. Never mind some of Bio’s government ministers are not adhering to the rules that they tell us to obey. I think Sierra Leonean people are more clever than their leaders. For example, Starting with the former president of Burundi Peirre Nkurunziza and four Zimbabwaen and two Malawi cabinet ministers, South African minister in all, the SADAC region have lost ten high ranking government ministers to the Covid19 pandemic.

    So if there is one thing we can say about this covid19 pandemic, it doesn’t discriminate. Rich, poor, powerful or the exploited. Covid19 is cheeky; and is the most independent minded virus the world has seen for the past century. We are all in this together. The good news amongst vulnerable groups is that the Covid 19 protocols help slow the development of herd immunity, so as a society we can move past tbe virus when this nightmare is finally over. Then one day we will sing like Dr Martin Luther King jr, used to say “We are Free at last. Thank God we are Free at last” In our case from this horrible virus.

  5. Finally,someone with a good head on his shoulders has figured it out – surely what works in some places when it comes to trying to eradicate and minimize the transmission of the deadly Covid 19 virus that prowls,stalks and hunts its unsuspecting victims,in the shadows like a ruthless predator doesn’t work in others.Millions of people all across the globe have been constantly under attack,old and young alike being held as hostages inside their homes,subdued against their will.You can complain,cry and whine all you want but the deadly invisible predator doesn’t care about what you do,say or think;Its mission is to wage all out war against mankind with a precision so lethal it has caused even the most advanced nations in the world to frantically panic and run for cover into the safety of their warm and cozy luxurious homes after feverishly imposing the strictest lock-downs ever in history on their spiritless,timid frightened people.

    Yup,since the invisible predator Covid 19 appeared out of the shadows government and business shutdowns,and curfews have become the new normal in many places that can afford to let days and nights roll by like passing clouds in a dark night sky without losing sleep for fear of going hungry.It must be nice if you are someone that lives in a stunning spacious hand-picked cottage in West Sussex,Cornwall and Norfolk in the UK and not ever have to worry about social distancing or how to earn your usual daily paltry income.In the United States there is a Covid relief plan that targets families with children with generous offers of financial help and rent assistance – it must be truly nice.Gentlemen – our neck of the woods is different;its a harsh terrain where no one cares about anyone else – an unforgiving place where the daily mantra of millions being sung is,”Every man for himself and God for us all.” (lol) African leaders must now realize that their societies are completely different from those of their Western counterparts.

    Our people live in crowded communities,that poverty has dragged them into like unwilling brides,forced by their parents into abusive unwanted marriages.Hundreds of people using the same bathrooms and toilet,some spiting here,others coughing there – all the hand washing and truckloads of sanitizers in the world wouldn’t be enough to save you from the invisible merciless iron grips of Covid 19 in such a crowded petrifying, perplexing environment. (lol) We need to make our own solutions work in a scorching environment that celebrates the immortal Sun,our neighbor and friend – let those who live in Igloos built of snow enjoy the freezing winter cold for such is their portion – a blessing bestowed upon them by the generous hands of existence. In such cold places acts of social distancing are possible without breaking a sweat.In my beloved Sierra Leone the HEAT inside our Pan Body resembles an oven,SO Sizzling HOT the Covid 19 virus has not a chance in the world of ever surviving.(lol)

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