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.