Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: As of Sept. 5, officials in Sierra Leone maintain some measures to contain spread of COVID-19. Borders and airports reopened.

Alert Begins 05 Sep 2020 09:17 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Minor disruptions

Summary
As of Sept. 5, authorities in Sierra Leone maintain some restrictions in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A nationwide 2300-0500 curfew reportedly remains in place and 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 provide a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result issued within 72 hours before departure to enter the country. Additional tests are conducted on arrival. Before departure you will be required to product a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of your 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.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Sierra Leone's government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements and requirements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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