As of Dec. 3, authorities in Sierra Leone are maintaining some restrictions in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A 12-month state of emergency is in place through at least March 2021. A nationwide 23:00-05:00 (local time) curfew has expired; however, wearing a facemask in public is mandatory. Public gatherings of over 100 people remain banned. Restrictions on international and domestic travel have been lifted; however, health screenings and other health measures are likely at all crossing points and ports of entry.
Travelers are required to register trips on the government's travel portal. Travelers will also have to provide a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result issued within seven days prior to departure for the country. Additional tests, including a COVID-19 PCR and rapid diagnostic test (RDT), are conducted on arrival. Before departure, travelers will be required to produce a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of their intended departure from the country. Travelers who arrived in Sierra Leone fewer than five days before departing are exempt from the test. Requirements for self-isolation (for persons waiting for test results on arrival) are in place. Persons testing positive for COVID-19 may be subject to quarantine at a state-run facility.
Sierra Leone is likely to maintain its current domestic health measures and restrictions; however, should an increase in cases be observed, additional travel restrictions may be imposed.
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 (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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