Siera Leone Telegraph: 6 June 2021:
Sierra Leone has recorded one of its highest daily new cases of Covid infection since the Global pandemic was announced in February 2021.
Yesterday Saturday 5th of June, the government said that 20 new cases of Covid infection were recorded, bringing the total number of Covid cases in Sierra Leone to 4,188.
With the rainy season now in full swing, it is expected that the number of Covid cases will rise significantly.
It is not clear whether all 20 new cases are of the Indian variant now dubbed by WHO as the Delta-variant.
Over 50% of the total number of cases in Sierra Leone are in the capital Freetown, with 2,993, followed by Kenema and Bo with 133 and 130 respectively.
So far the total number of deaths from Covid remains relatively low at 79, but there are fears the real number could be a lot more as testing across the population remains very low.
This latest upsurge in new cases in Sierra Leone comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) describes the threat of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in African as real and rising, urging countries to brace up and strengthen their health systems by investing in critical care capacities.
Speaking at a press conference in the last few days, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said: “The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising. Vaccines are key to staving off a new surge and keeping the most vulnerable Africans out of critical care. Vaccines are a gift that we will keep on giving.
“Nearly 20 African countries have now used more than two-thirds of the doses they have received, and many of these countries are ready, willing and able to rapidly roll out more.
“As we are expecting a surge, it is important to strengthen health systems now to save lives. Public health measures remain important to prevent infections that can later become hospitalisations.
“In the past week, 74,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported – an increase of 9 percent over the previous week. We are seeing rising cases in South Africa and Uganda, and cases have increased abruptly in 8 countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.
“We have seen how COVID-19 can quickly overwhelm health systems that are not equipped to manage a surge in cases, so critical care capacities remain vitally important.”
Moeti added: “Since the start of the pandemic, supplies worth US$123 million have been shipped to African countries through the UN Supply Portal, coordinated by WHO. These include around 3,700 oxygen concentrators, 1,300 patient monitors and 700 ventilators.
“Investing in critical care capacities in African countries now, will pay dividends for the COVID-19 response, along with strengthening health systems to manage major killers like childhood pneumonia.
“Update on COVID-19 vaccine rollout: 31 million doses have been administered in African countries – 7 million Africans have received two doses. In sub-Saharan Africa, we are at an average of one COVID-19 vaccine dose per 100 people, compared to a global average of 23, and 62 in high-income countries.
“The gap between COVID-19 vaccinations globally and on the African continent is increasing, despite the best efforts of African countries, because of vaccine inequity. This is a concern for us, and it was strongly expressed by many Member States during the 74th World Health Assembly.”