Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 July 2021:
The British government has today announced that on Monday 19th July, 4am, Sierra Leone will join a long list of countries with very high prevalence of Covid infections, from which travellers are banned from entering England.
This means that if you are entering England from Sierra Leone, you will only be allowed entry if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK.
In which case, before you travel to England you must take a COVID-19 test; book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests; and complete a passenger locator form.
Your Covid test result should be provided as a printed document or an email or text message which you can show on your phone.
If you do not present proof of a negative Covid test, you may not be able to board your flight to England from Freetown. And if you arrive in England without proof of a negative test, you may be fined £500.
You must provide the original test result notification. It must include the following information:
- your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
- your date of birth or age
- the result of the test
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
- the name of the test provider and their contact details
- confirmation of the device used for the test, or that the test was a PCR test
If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to board your flight. And if you arrive in England without a test result that includes the above information, you might have to pay a £500 fine.
If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance laid down by the government of Sierra Leone for positive coronavirus cases. If the result is inconclusive, you must take another test.
British nationals who need consular assistance should contact the British High Commission in Freetown.
Children aged 10 and under do not need to take a test. And if you are an adult, you do not need to take a test if you are travelling to the UK for urgent medical treatment or are accompanying someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and it is not reasonably practical for you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in the 3 days before departure; or, if you have a medical condition which means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a medical practitioner at check in and to Border Force staff on arrival in England.
Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form before travelling to England is an offence punishable by imprisonment.
You could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both, if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK.
Before you travel to England you must book a managed quarantine hotel where you will quarantine. Your quarantine package will include your managed quarantine hotel, food and drink, quarantine transfers and your travel test package for COVID-19 on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine.
You will need to book, and pay for, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK. You will only be able to book this within the two weeks prior to arriving in the UK.
If you break the quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
The decision by the British government to downgrade Sierra Leone from its amber list to red list was expected, after over one thousand cases of Covid were recorded in just four weeks in June.
Although the number of people that have died remains relatively low at 102, there are fears this figure may be much higher.
Two weeks ago, the government of Sierra Leone announced new Covid restrictions across the country, including an 11pm to 5am curfew, and the closure of all places of worship – except for funerals.
The British government says it will keep its traffic lights list under constant review. Meanwhile it “advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Sierra Leone based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks”.