West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Trends

Sierra Leone

COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased

  • First case: 30 March 2020

  • Total cases: 1,727 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 66

  • Schools: Closed (2.65 million school children from pre-primary to senior secondary are currently out of school)

  • Borders/flights: Air borders will reopen on 22 July.

  • Containment measures: On 9 July, President Julius Maada Bio announced the lifting of some restrictions as the country reopens after the lockdown. Three main areas are affected: reopening of places of worship, curfew hours and reopening of the main airport. All mosques, churches, and other places of worship will be open for congregation and worship from 13 July. On the same day, curfew hours will be eased to 11 pm to 5 am. And finally, Lungi International Airport will be re-opened on 22 July.

Situation:

On 9 July, President Julius Maada Bio announced the lifting of some restrictions as the country reopens after the lockdown. Three main areas are affected: reopening of places of worship, curfew hours and reopening of the main airport. All mosques, churches, and other places of worship will be open for congregation and worship from 13 July. On the same day, curfew hours will be eased to 11 pm to 5 am. And finally, Lungi International Airport will be re-opened on 22 July. 

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has strengthened its surveillance, emergency preparedness, resilience and response systems to effectively manage Public Health Events and Emergencies. COVID-19 could overwhelm an already weak health system and reduce services for endemic health concerns such as malaria, tuberculosis, and malnutrition.  Maternal and child mortality rates are among the highest worldwide, and there are only 3 physicians and 50 nurses/mid-wives for every 100,000 persons.

Response:

The Government has developed a National Response Plan, prepared in consultation with key partners and following recommendations from WHO guidance documents.  This plan organized the response effort into 7 pillars of activity, with the following response activities currently underway: surveillance(quarantine management and point of Entry management, contact listing and tracing), laboratory systems (rapid results), case management, information and communication, ICT, logistics and security (enforcement of recommended public health interventions such as restriction on movement and quarantine).

The World Bank approved a $7.5 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help Sierra Leone respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.

The humanitarian response to the indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic targets the most vulnerable and affected population of Sierra Leone. It encompasses activities that directly respond to the identified needs, particularly in food security, livelihood and agriculture, sustainable provision of critical services and psychosocial support, education, logistics and supply chain.

Sierra Leone established a Presidential Task Force to serve as the COVID-19 decision-making body and provide the strategic direction of the response. The Emergency Operations Centre was also established for coordination, command, and control of operations.  These groups regularly meet with development partners and NGO partners, forming working groups under technical pillars identified by the response plan.

Useful links:

Support to the National Response to Contain the Impact of COVID-19

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