Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 June 2021:
Sierra Leone has recorded 269 new cases of Covid-19 infections in the last five days. Yesterday Saturday 19th June 2021, seventy-one new cases of Covid-19 infections were recorded in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,702.
Last Monday, 14th June 2021, the total number of confirmed cases was 4,433, marking a rise of 269 cases in just five days.
Only two new cases were recorded at the country’s international airport since last Monday 14th June, bringing the total number of confirmed inbound cases to 186, despite suspicion of a large number of passengers from abroad potentially carrying the highly infectious and aggressive Indian variant.
Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, continues to record the highest number of Covid cases in the country, with the Western Urban Area showing an increase from a total of 2,609 on Monday 14th of June to 2,807 yesterday Saturday 19th June – an increase of 198, compared to an increase of 185 cases the previous nine days.
The total number of Covid cases recorded in Western Rural Area has also gone up from 617 to 671 in just five days, an increase of 54 since Monday 14th of June 2021.
As the number of Covid infections continues to rise in Sierra Leone, especially in the capital Freetown, the country’s agency responsible for managing the government’s Covid strategy – NaCOVERC, has published a statement informing the general public that “Sierra Leone is currently witnessing a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic”
Although this news should not come as a surprise, NaCOVERC says that “this assessment has been informed by the WHO alert as well as a thorough examination of the epidemiological data particularly for the last one month, which strongly indicates not only exponential rise in COVID-19 confirmed cases, but also increased positivity rates, hospitalization and deaths.
“We are further informed by available data that a significant number of positive cases are from samples obtained from patients in health facilities. These are predominantly in the Western Area.
“In the current instance, many of the cases are symptomatic unlike the initial one year of the outbreak in the first and second waves. In view of our commitment to protecting the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and in response of growing national and international public health concerns, the Presidential Task Force has approved the announcement of the following measures, as proposed by NaCOVERC, for nationwide application with immediate effect, for a period of one month, subject to review:-
- The mandatory wearing of face mask in all public places and transportation – ‘No Mask No Entry’.
- Social distancing and hand-washing/alcohol-based hand sanitizer use to be observed in all public places.
- Services in places of worship shall not exceed ninety (90) minutes, with full enforcement of face mask, social distancing and hand-washing protocols.
- Night clubs and cinemas are banned for one month with immediate effect.
- With effect from Tuesday 22nd June 2021, Government ministries, departments and agencies will only be accessed by employees and members of the public with proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination. Full dose vaccination is highly recommended.
Visit our websites www.mic.gov.sl and www.dhse.gov.sl Dial *468# or SMS 468 for COVID selfchecks, tips and updates
- National Sports Authority designated-activities and competitions shall be held behind closed doors without spectators. Only footballers and officials with proof of vaccination will be allowed into the venue.
- Social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, receptions, naming ceremonies and the likes shall not exceed fifty (50) people, with mandatory face mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing/use of hand sanitizer.
- Large-scale entertainment activities or any super-spreader events are banned for the period of one month.
- NaCOVERC will be enforcing wearing of face mask at shops and at indoor and outdoor markets and crowded stalls.
- Educational institutions shall comply with mandatory face mask, hand-washing and social distance protocols.
- Government and private health facilities to incorporate COVID-19 screening for cases matching case definition for COVID-19; and corpses with suspicious case definitions to be swabbed within 12 hours of death.
- Media is encouraged to run sustained COVID-19 preventive messages; MDAs and NGOs similarly urged to preface meetings and activities with such messages.
- Age for vaccination has been revised further to thirty (30) years, and a total of eight (8) static sites now operating in the Western Area. Mobile vaccination sites are deployed in strategic locations. Residents are urged to take full advantage of the existing vaccine supply.
- Fully vaccinated persons after fourteen (14) days of last dose of vaccination shall not be subjected to quarantine. (END).
With Dubai yesterday announcing that it is banning travellers from Sierra Leone entering their country, starting tomorrow Monday 21 June 2021, there are fears other countries may follow suit.