Sierra Leone steps up response to Covid 19 Indian variant

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 May 2021:

Sierra Leone has recorded 4,115 cases of Coronavirus since the pandemic began in March 2020, as 8 new cases were reported yesterday 20 May 2021. On average, three new cases are recorded every day in the country. So far, the number of deaths remain relatively low at 79.

But critics say that it is difficult to be sure about the prevalence of the virus in the country as the level of testing is significantly low. So far, the number of people that have been vaccinated also remains low.

The government says it is currently worried about the new Indian variant of the virus and the possibility of this new strain entering Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the weekly  government press briefing in the conference hall of the  ministry of information and communications yesterday, 20th May, officials responsible for the Covid programme – NACOVERC, gave an update on the country’s latest efforts to stop the virus from spreading.

The officials reported that the rate of covid infection in Sierra Leone stands at 0.1 per 1000 covid-19 cases, which according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States of America places Sierra Leone on its list of low risk COVID-19 countries.

“SierraLeone is actively monitoring the situation in Asia, especially India where cases of COVID-19 is alarming. NACOVERC is monitoring the Indian Community in Sierra Leone and tracking suspected cases. NACOVERC is right sizing its human resources to ensure resources are refocused to other response pillars,” the officials said.

NACOVERC said it has increased testing by 1000 from 100 a day, and is aiming to vaccinate 70% of the country’s population.

So far, 63,000 people have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccination in Sierra Leone, and a total of 7,785 people have received both doses of the vaccines.

NACOVERC officials say that so far, no major side-effect has been recorded from recipients of the vaccines.

Total spending on the government’s COVID-19 response by the end of March 2021 was $50.3 million. This includes expenditure on sensitization, case management, operations, isolation, surveillance, and testing.

Officials said that the total amount of revenue collected from testing arrivals and departing passengers is 53.6 billion Leones; and 1.2 billion Leones generated from fines.  The government says it is considering using the revenue generated to build hospitals.

Two weeks ago, the government announced new protocols aimed at preventing the entry of the Indian variant of the virus into the country. This is what the government said:

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