Sierra Leone’s Covid response agency challenges UK government travel red-list

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 July 2021:

Chairman of Sierra Leone’s National Corona Virus Response Center (NaCOVERC) Mr. Sheku F. Bangura has criticised the UK government’s decision to place Sierra Leone on its Covid red list of countries.

Speaking at a press conference in Freetown last Wednesday, Mr Bangura said that Sierra Leone is a low infection rate country and should not be red listed.

He said that NaCOVERC has not been underreporting cases of COVID-19 in the country, as alleged by some researchers, and that they have been doing all they could to ensure that the real figures are shared with the public.

Speaking about the recently launched Seroprevalence Survey Report which indicates that Sierra Leone has been underreporting its COVID-19 cases by tens of thousands, the Chairman assured Sierra Leoneans and the UK Government that the report was referring to the amount of people exposed to the virus, and not those infected by it.

He said that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has reduced to 3.1% which is way below the World Health Organization (WHO) average of 5%.

Bangura told reporters that Sierra Leone will be using diplomatic means to engage the UK Government to understand that his country should not be red listed since the number of cases has reduced to single digits.

Critics are lampooning the government on social media, accusing them of massaging the figures down to single digits because the UK government has placed the country on its red list.

A British media report this week shows that Sierra Leone in June to early July 2021, had the highest percentage of people testing positive for covid on their return to England from amber list countries.

Although this data may have partly informed the UK government’s decision to place Sierra Leone on the red -list from amber,  Mr. Bangura said that Sierra Leone is now recording a downward trend in the Covid-19 cases as compared to late June, when the cases were soaring exponentially. He said that the case admissions and deaths have also reduced over the last few days.

He informed journalists that NaCOVERC has increased testing from 3000 to 5000 per week in order to ensure that more people are tested.

He appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to take the vaccine as it will help boost their immune system, and further urged everyone to always wear face masks and avoid public gathering in order to keep safe from the virus.

He added that the measures announced by the president in June of this year are effective and that the country is now recording single digit cases, adding that if it this trend continues – things will change for the better.

“Corona is here, and corona is in the world. The best way to protect yourself is to take the vaccine and observe the necessary precautions by washing of hands, avoiding public gatherings, and taking the vaccine,” he said.

Director of Health Services – Dr Mohamed A. Vandi, said that more testing and more vaccination is the way to go if the government is to reopen the country just as in the USA and England.

“All we have to do now is to ensure that 99% of our people take the vaccine so as to prevent them from the virus,” he said, adding that the virus will have to be with us for a long time and we have to be ready to deal with it.

4 Comments

  1. The only recommended strategy is for the Sierra Leone government to create a rapid response to vaccinate its citizens and to open vaccination outlets around the country. With such a move, there will be less Covid spread and reenforcing face-mask covering in public places.

  2. Butterflies soaring in the sun,here i come;catch you i must before evening is born;Butterflies,big blue transparent butterflies, why was Sierra Leone,my only home red-listed and arm-twisted by their Colonial Masters,tricksters that once robbed my country blind with a gleaming sword? Butterflies,big blue beautiful majestic butterflies dancing and playing in the sun nothing these people say will be regarded carefully,seriously and judiciously looked into;Hahahahahaha. The complaisant servant and his deviant master are now at odds with each other exchanging word for word – soon it will be blow for ruthless blow. Butterflies, big blue butterflies,trimmed with green and white soaring to the skies like kites, what right does a compliant servant that borrows and owes,borrows and throws and blows money away have to confront and become an affront to his old wary Colonial master?(lol)

    Butterflies in the sun waiting for the dawn to come; Are these the same bandits,with bad habits that would throw fits of anger,spit out spiteful words,clobber and murder our people and then shackle and hustle them away to their cold, ignoble, miserable faraway lands? Answer – Where were the red-lights then? It was all green wasn’t it? Bright green lights blinking everywhere signaling it was alright to rob, plunder and then carry our helpless people away.(lol) Its a damn shame – the British have forgotten so quickly who we really are. Oh mercy,mercy me!

  3. My bone of contention is, if NaCOVERC is alleging to have been wrongly classified by the UK, why was government actions and measures on the ground mimics a desperate and out of control outbreak by the delta variant in the nation? Barely 2 weeks ago, i was in Freetown when the government started reporting on dramatically increase in Covid-19 cases. This was followed by a presidential statement calling for the closures of religious places of worship and a curfew overnight.

    On strategic locations in the Freetown, face mask enforcement check-points were mounted by law enforcements, humiliating and abusing a few citizens found to be noncompliant. All across the nation, there was an euphoria of fear, with rumors going around that government will soon mandate forceful vaccination, with inter-district travelers required to show prove of vaccination. Even at the airport, the authorities conceal the entire perimeter, with only passengers allow to enter the first main gate towards the airport.

    So with all these desperate measures and activities, why wouldn’t outsiders perceives our nation being a high risk? Or are government officials telling us now, this was all a publicity stunt, aimed to attract more donor funds? The most interesting aspect of this whole saga is, how is it even possible to go from a rapidly increasing trend of cases, in a nation that has barely 1% vaccination, to zero positive cases within days? Hmmm PAOPA, i think the UK ban has expose your dubious and surreptitious activities all along when it comes to this Covid-19 fight.

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