Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Whirlwind Weeks: COVID19 confirmed in Sierra Leone

The last few weeks have been quite something; it's hard to even put it in words. The whole world is consumed by COVID19 with daily increases of cases, deaths, lockdowns, overwhelmed health facilities, shortages of personal protective equipment and pretty much every headline focussed on the disease. Meanwhile, Sierra Leone was amongst a small group of countries in the world yet to confirm a case. However, as the President of Sierra Leone stated on the 24th March 2020, when he declared a State of Public Emergency, it was not a matter of 'if' the coronavirus would come to Sierra Leone, but 'when'. 

Sadly, today is that day. The first COVID19 case was confirmed in Sierra Leone. The index case is a national who traveled from Europe back to Sierra Leone. Symptoms were experienced during quarantine and the index case went to an appropriate health facility for isolation and testing without first going home. Confirmatory tests were positive. Thankfully, the person is in stable condition and measures have been put in place for contact tracing in a systematic manner. We all hope and pray this disease will be contained. 

The government has made good efforts during the preparedness phase to try to prevent/contain COVID19 from coming to/spreading in Sierra Leone. The big shift came on the 19th of March when the government announced that flights would be suspended for a period of 90 days. Within hours and days a myriad of measures were put into place including no large gatherings, closing of mosques and churches, schools stopping by the 31st March, stopping the LUMA markets upcountry, restrictions of passengers in public transport, closing the land borders and declaring a State of Public Emergency. Now that we have a case in country, additional measures will follow.

While the government plays its part, and the various pillars at the Emergency Operations Centre work hard to contain COVID19, it's important that we as individuals take ownership and make sure we prevent spread of this disease.

Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds.
Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Do not touch your face. 
Avoid contact with sick people.
Keep physical distance from each other. 
Call 117 if you are sick.
Follow local health advice.

Let's pray for Sierra Leone and for the world.

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~