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08 mai 2020 | 01h01 UTC

Sierra Leone: Protesters clash with police in Tumbu over COVID-19 measures May 6 /update 9

Sierra Leone Alerte de sécurité

Fisherman clash with police in Tumbu on May 6 over work restrictions introduced to combat spread of COVID-19; further clashes possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/5/2020, 12h00 until 11/5/2021, 11h59 (Africa/Freetown). COUNTRY/REGION Tumbu, Sierra Leone

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Following Sierra Leone's last-minute introduction of restrictions to the number of vessels authorized to go out to sea, local fishermen attacked a police station and health center in Tumbu (Western Area Rural district) on Wednesday, May 6. The restriction was introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, limiting the number of vessels permitted to go out to sea to 15, with hundreds waiting to set sail. This measure, which had previously not been announced to the public, angered the fishermen, who proceeded to attack a police station, health center, and the house of the local community chief. As of Thursday, May 7, there have been no reports of any injuries.

Also on Wednesday, the Sierra Leone government reopened economic activity following a three-day lockdown, which was introduced on May 3.

Travel between districts remains banned and the curfew between 21:00 and 06:00 (local time) remains in place. Those carrying essential goods or providing essential services must carry an electronic pass. All schools, entertainment centers, and religious institutions have been closed, and public gatherings have been banned. In Freetown, market opening hours have been limited to between 07:00 and 19:00.

All commercial flights to and from the capital's Lungi International Airport (FNA) have been indefinitely suspended since Saturday, March 21. The closure of the country's borders, except for cargo transportation, which was originally announced on Friday, March 27, remains in place.

As of May 7, Sierra Leone has recorded 231 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide and 16 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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