As of Jan. 7, 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 2300-0500 curfew has expired; however, wearing a facemask in public is mandatory. Public gatherings of over 100 people remain banned. Restrictions on domestic travel have been lifted.
International 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. Traveler’s passports will be held by authorities until the results of the PCR test have been received. 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 self-isolation. Land and sea borders are reportedly closed to passenger travel.
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.
COVID-19 is 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.
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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