Sierra Leone scales down Covid-19 response as number of deaths remains low

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2020:

As countries across the world ramp up their response to the unfolding second wave of the deadly Coronavirus Pandemic that has killed over one million people, authorities in Sierra Leone have decided its time to scale down the government’s response.

This decision was announced by the government’s national spokesman for the Covid-19 Response Centre – NaCOVERC, Mr. Solomon Jamiru.

Since the start of the pandemic in March this year, Sierra Leone has recorded 2,340 cases. According to the government, 1,777 have recovered, with 73 deaths.

Most African countries such as Sierra Leone, have performed far better than the predictions of Armageddon made by scientists early this year about the impact of the pandemic on the continent.

But that is not to say there is room for complacency as little is still known about the virus and its behaviour. Hence many countries around the world are now ramping up their preparedness for a second wave.

So, why has Sierra Leone decided to scale down its efforts?

This is what Mr. Solomon Jamiru said:

“The National COVID-19 Emergency response will scale down by minimum 40% effective 1 November 2020. This decision was reached at a workforce rationalisation conference held from 19-21 October at the Golden Tulip, Aberdeen, Freetown. This marked  the 30th week of the Coronavirus outbreak in Sierra Leone.

“The conference was informed by an assessment of the epidemiological data especially for the last three (3) months, which indicates a general downward trend in COVID cases nationwide. With this general downward trend in cases, the Conference concluded that it will not be fiscally prudent to retain the over 9,000 workforce nationwide.

“As at 23rd October, there are twenty-three (23) quarantine homes (all being self-quarantine), with a total of 175 persons in three (3) Districts -Western Area Urban, Western Area Rural and Port Loko Districts. Positive cases currently admitted in treatment and care centres nationwide are below 5% of the total bed capacity which is 984.

“Majority of the Districts have gone for several incubation periods without recording a case (one incubation period is 14 days). For instance, Kambia District has gone up to 7 incubation periods without a case.

“Consequently, the workforce will scale down by minimum forty percent (40%) effective November 1, 2020. In the event of any surge which may require scaling up the workforce, a personnel and logistical re-engagement mechanism has already been agreed.

“Risk allowances accounted for a large percentage of the funding portfolio. The cut will enable refocusing and repurposing funds towards emergency and health systems strengthening which are two critical national imperatives.

“This development does not in any way signal the end of COVID-19. The Response will continue to keep the virus in check, and counts on the cooperation of all.

“NaCOVERC commends the four (4) Regional Coordinators, sixteen (16) District Coordinators, sixteen (16) District Medical Officers, Pillar Leads, Technical and Operations Coordinators and Field Monitors, for a successful Conference.”

The government of Sierra Leone has received hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid and loans to help build the country’s resilience against the impact of the pandemic on the economy. But with export revenue and much reduced tourism income, there are fears economic growth will take a very long time to recover, amid growing unemployment and poverty.

4 Comments

  1. Indeed. They are hoping for more International aid to chop after COVID-19. The authorities should bear in mind that COVID-19 was, let me put it this way, “kind” to young people and “ruthless” to older people and people with underlying health issues. Sierra Leone and nearly all African countries have younger people in terms of population. That helped with the infectious side of COVID-19.

    The economic side will be devastating in my view. But, do they know that the virus has already started infecting younger people? What if he virus start affecting our youths God forbids? Do they have plans in place to help? I hope they do.
    They told us sometime ago that they have a scientific team advising the government? Where they contacted before this decision was made? What about the State of Emergency? Will that be lifted? Besides the virus returning to infect our youths God forbids, this is what I reckon is also very important – “But with export revenue and much reduced tourism income, there are fears economic growth will take a very long time to recover, amid growing unemployment and poverty”. Thanks to Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas, the Editor of this globally respected online Newspaper for mentioning this point in the article.

    This Bio SLPP kakistocracy has no post COVID-19 support plan and no clue on what to do after COVID-19 infection rate dials down. What they know and care about is fighting corruption, which everyone now know is excellently rejoicing under President Bio’s watch. They should just forget about the corruption masquerade and concentrate on improving the lives of millions of Sierra Leoneans finding difficulty in making ends meet, in the land of “the Living Dead” and “the Gron Dry”. God bless and protect our country after COVID-19 dials down.

  2. The deadly covid 19 pandemic, might not have played out across Africa as some western media doomsday scenario predicted it will come to pass. When the pandemic finally made its way to the African continent, one of the figures predicted of future deaths of Africans from this deadly pandemic disease was a staggering 10 million people. The irony of all ironies, more Africans have died in Europe and America than the amount of deaths recorded in their home countries.

    One Sierra Leonean death, or any deaths anywhere in the world is one too much. Bio might claim some credit for taken swift action by putting the country to an early lockdown, after the first case, but don’t be fooled by those self-serving congratulatory, back slapping gestures. These low death figures has been repeated right across the continent. We as a country is not alone in recording low numbers of deaths. But since Bio’s government likes to take credit for anything and everything, there is very little surprise from his government announcement of scaling back the covid19 pandemic restrictions.

    Apart from Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria, that recorded the highest cases of death across the African continent and given their combined populations, their deaths is less than France or the UK, two of the worst affected countries in Europe, and the world at large. And if one is to delve in to the population of Africa, which boasts of having almost one billion people, we can safely say, so far the people in this vast continent can thank the Gods for looking after their health. And so far Africa as a whole has managed to dodge the bullet of this deadly disease. My only hope now, with the easing of restrictions, people, don’t become complacent. Covid 19 is still with us and a lot of people are dying from it. May God bless Sierra Leone.

  3. Does that mean they will be stopping the dreaded covid tax on passengers? Covid test in own country costs $150; covid test on arrival at Lung is $80; and covid test on departure at Lungi is another $80.

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