Sierra Leone’s first recorded case of Omicron puts health authorities on high alert

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 December 2021:

Health officials in Freetown yesterday announced the discovery of the country’s first known case of the new Covid 19 Omicron variant, following confirmation of a surge in the number of positive Covid cases recorded in the last few days.

According to the government, PCR tests carried out on inbound passengers on 25th November 2021, showed that a passenger who had arrived from Nigeria had Covid-19. Further test also confirmed that he was carrying the Omicron variant.

Nigeria now has the highest number of confirmed Omicron cases after South Africa.

Writing in a joint statement issued yesterday by the National Covid-19 Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), it is clear that health officials are taking this discovery very seriously to avert its spread, although there is suspicion this may well be the tip of the iceberg.

“The detection of the first Omicron case demonstrates our unflinching commitment to testing and surveillance, as well as our country’s genomic sequencing capabilities. NaCOVERC and MoHS will remain vigilant at points of entry (including the Freetown International Airport), and hereby call on everyone to bear personal responsibility for health and safety especially at this crucial festive season,” the NaCOVERC statement reads.

Health officials say that they will step up tests at all border points of entry, especially at Lungi Airport where hundreds of visitors are expected to arrive in the next few weeks for Christmas holiday.

Less than 5% of the population of Sierra Leone have been vaccinated against the Covid virus.

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