Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio on Thursday announced a one-month nationwide curfew in Sierra Leone to control spread of Covid-19 effective Monday 5th July 2021 from 11 pm to 5 am daily.
a) Congregational worship in churches, mosques and other religious places are suspended for a period of one month effective Friday 2nd July 2021.
b) Restaurants and bars are encouraged to use takeaway services and they shall close at 9 pm daily.
c) Attendance at funerals, weddings, and other social events shall be limited to no more than fifty persons.
d) Drivers and passengers are strongly urged to get their COVID-19 vaccination prior to all traveling from one town to the other.
The president said all prior NACOVERC measures and advisories on proper face-masking, handwashing, and social distancing remain in full force and that NaCOVERC will enforce these measures strictly.
“I, therefore, call on all citizens to cooperate with these interventions. These measures will be reviewed from time to time based on scientific data and expert advice.
“COVID-19 vaccines that are available in this country are safe and efficacious. They have been approved by our Pharmacy Board and the World Health Organisation. I, senior members of Government, over a hundred thousand citizens have been fully vaccinated. This vaccine will protect you against COVID-19 and protect your life. I, therefore, strongly urge every eligible citizen to take the free COVID-19 vaccines that are widely available throughout the country.”
The president pointed out that together as a nation, and in peace, the country has coped with financial and social constraints, restrictions on movement, and the general global uncertainties and anxieties caused by the pandemic.
“We did not renew the state of emergency once it elapsed. We eased restrictions on worship and travel and completely lifted the curfew. We did so then based on our assessment of COVID-19 infections.
“So far, we have kept our children in schools and colleges at all levels; kept hospitals and all Government offices open; kept public services running; kept congregational worship centers open, kept businesses open; and, supported the most vulnerable of our citizens throughout this period. Our Quick Action Economic Recovery Programme has mitigated the impact of the pandemic and maintained our economy on an even keel.
“All Covid-19 emergency response pillars from the national to district levels have remained active. All our policies as a Government have been well-thought-out to minimize the economic and other burdens of the pandemic, to save lives, and to protect livelihoods”.
The president said international partners and institutions have unreservedly praised the government’s competent handling of the first and second waves of the pandemic as the fatality ratios at under 3%, but noted that according to the World Health Organisation, the third wave of COVID-19 may impact the country and the Delta variant has been recently detected in Sierra Leone. “That variant is easily transmitted and it is very deadly.”
He said people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few weeks with more people hospitalized and 72% of beds in treatment and care centers already occupied.
“We have assessed the data. We have carefully examined the patterns of infection. We have closely looked at the trends. We believe we must take urgent and necessary steps to stem this third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone and thus save lives and protect livelihoods,” he said.