Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio is to undergo 14-day self-isolation after one of his bodyguards tested positive for COVID-19, reports from the West African country indicated as of Monday evening.
The president’s spokesperson confirmed the development to journalists and said the president was going to be working from home during the period. No one in the household of the first family had, however, shown any symptoms related to the virus.
“The EOC is testing all contacts of one of my security staff who had been in a 14-day quarantine and has tested positive for #COVIDー19. My government will continue to be transparent and urges citizens to protect themselves by following all hygiene and other protocols,” the president posted on Twitter.
I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.
Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 statistics as of April 21 stood at 43 cases with six recoveries and no deaths. Yesterday (April 20) was the 6th consecutive day Sierra Leone recorded new cases. Eight cases were confirmed yesterday alone.
The figure represented an increase of more than 200% from five days ago. Six of the eight cases were from the capital Freetown and one each from Kenema and Port Loko districts.
President Maada Bio becomes the second known African leader to self-isolate, the first being Botswana president Eric Masisi who self-isolated after attending an inauguration ceremony in Namibia. At the time his country was uninfected whiles Namibia had recorded three cases.
A number of African presidents have also confirmed taking the tests with all of them having tested negative. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Ghana’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari have all tested negative.
April 2: Sierra Leone announce 3-day lockdown with two cases
Twenty-four hours after confirming an index case, Sierra Leone announced a second case which involved a medical doctor with no links to the first patient. Both cases were registered in the capital Freetown.
On Wednesday April 1, authorities announced a three-day nationwide lockdown as a containment measure against the spread of the virus. Defence minister and national COVID19 Coordinator, Brig (Rtd) Kellie Conteh announced that coming Sunday, Monday & Tuesday (April 4 – 6) are stay-at-home days.
Meanwhile, doctors in the country are pushing for a two-week lockdown instead of three days. They argue that 14 days being the virus incubation period could help identify any potential cases.
They also called for protective gear for all health facilities and a “designated and adequate facility” for affected frontline health workers”, plus compensation.
In next door Guinea, which is also under a state of emergency, a big jump in figures have been recorded. Twenty-one new cases have shot the tally to 52. The new cases emerged from a list of primary contacts of earlier patients from Europe.