Twenty-nine Chinese and Sierra Leoneans are in isolation at a secured location and under strict medical surveillance for 14-days. “The temperatures of the 29 people including eight Chinese nationals and 21 Sierra Leoneans are being checked three times daily,” said Communications Lead, Harold Thomas, of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. He said, “As of now, none of the 29 in isolation have shown signs or symptoms of the virus.” 8 of the 29 persons are Chinese nationals working with a construction company in Sierra Leone, returning from holidays. The people were identified at the airport on Tuesday 4th February 2020, after arriving on Asky and SN Brussels Airlines. Passengers are asked to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Card upon arrival. Some controversy erupted when some passengers refused to identify their in-country locations. The Health Ministry, Immigration, and the Aviation authorities are trying to be robust in screening and temperature checks of incoming passengers. Thomas said the process is tedious, time-consuming and irregular but safety is paramount. Sierra Leone has raised the emergency alert to level 2, with Ghana and Guinea, according to WHO standards. Level 3 is Sierra Leone’s “comfort zone” and level 2 represents other necessary activities. According to the latest WHO situation report, on 4 February 2020, there are approximately 24,000 confirmed cases globally, 23 countries have been affected and there have been 492 deaths.
By Ade Campbell
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