As part of counter-measures put in place to curtail the rising spread of COVID-19 in the country, Sierra Leonean government has announced a new lockdown of the capital Freetown and a night curfew throughout the country.
These directives were issued in a statement released by the government response center for COVID-19. The authorities decided to restrict entry and exit from the Western Area and the territory corresponding to Freetown and its surroundings.
Freetown has so far recorded more than half of the daily COVID-19 infection in the country.
Travel outside Freetown considered essential is subject to a negative Covid test within 72 hours. An electronic pass will be introduced “to regulate essential movements,” the center said. It will also be accessible through a mobile application.
Restaurants and bars will have to remain closed on weekends and the wearing of masks remains mandatory in public places.
“Since December 2020, we observe an exponential increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19, largely due to the holiday season”, explains the government center.
Sierra Leone has reported 3,081 cases of COVID-19 and 77 deaths since March 2020.
Four out of five (80%) cases of infection were detected during routine testing or in travelers leaving the country. This is “a strong indication of active community transmission,” where the precise source of infection is undetermined, a sign of virus circulation and a complicating factor in the response” the government center said.
The former British colony of 7.5 million people had been hard hit by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which killed nearly 4,000 people in the country between 2014 and 2016. It is still struggling to recover from a civil war that killed some 120,000 people nearly 20 years after the end of the conflict.