Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 April 2020:
In the last twenty-four hours, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen in Sierra Leone to fifteen. Two new cases were confirmed yesterday afternoon.
Although the rate of increase remains consistently low since the first case was reported over three weeks ago, what is alarming about the two cases found yesterday is that they are both believed to be working in the country’s health service.
In terms of the geographical spread of the number of confirmed cases so far recorded, with the exception of the capital Freetown where most of the cases have been found, and Port Loko where there is a hotel housing quarantined patients, the rest of the country had up till yesterday remained COVID-19 free.
Kenema district in the east of the country, saw its first confirmed case yesterday. He is said to be a 29 year old hospital laboratory technician, working in the capital Freetown, who had arrived in Kenema over a week ago.
It is understood that twelve people who had come into contact with the Lab technician in Kenema, have been quickly identified by health officials and are now in quarantine. (Video below: Health offcials removing a man suspected to be the traditional herbalist who was treating the infected lab technician in Kenema).
The second case of COVID-19 confirmed yesterday, is said to be a nurse who works in a children’s hospital in Freetown. According to unconfirmed reports, she had been in self-isolation after coming into contact with an earlier reported COVID-19 patient.
Yesterday, Sierra Leone’s counterparts in the Manor River Union, continued to surpass all expectations as the total number of confirmed cases increased to well over one thousand, with Ivory Coast having 638 cases; Guinea yesterday recorded 34 new confirmed cases, bringing its total to 438; Liberia 73; and Sierra Leone – 15 cases.
The reported case of COVID-19 in Kenema was met with shock yesterday across the district. This is one resident – Yayah k Brima’s chilling reaction:
“I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes upon hearing that Kenema city has recorded its first case of COVID-19. I have said these words before, am going to repeat them again: Any time a case of COVID-19 is recorded outside contact tracing or quarantined homes, it means the virus is far ahead of your thinking.
“Despite all the efforts the medical teams, security personnel, politicians and other people are doing just to put a stop to this deadly unseen enemy, some wicked people are bent on throwing the efforts of these people into the dustbin.
“With all the daily warning from people in charge of COVID-19 fight – that we should not allow strangers from infected areas into our homes, yet some people are still flouting these laws.
“As a Sierra Leonean I would suggest that all those who are in the habit of harbouring strangers in their houses or compounds should be quarantined for 14 days; and after their quarantine period they should be arrested and charged to court for flouting the laws.
“My worry now is how many people this individual has contacted before proving that he is positive. Whenever I think about the havoc COVID-19 has caused in the first world, tears run down my eyes thinking about my country’s condition, in terms of health facilities.
“As a Muslim. I am thinking about the Holy month that is about to come. God – please look at Sierra Leone and sorry for us; and try to save us from the world’s greatest enemy.”