Virus-Free Sierra Leone records COVID-19 scuffles over quarantine at airport

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By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

The Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone’s main entry point via air witnessed a coronavirus related scuffle after passengers aboard a Kenya Airways flight refused necessary health protocols.

One of the country’s experienced journalists Umaru Fofana reported the said flight had a that passengers aboard the flight had a suspected COVID-19 case leading to the decision to quarantine all the passengers. It is not known how authorities detected the case in question.

“At least three passengers refused to be isolated saying they’d rather return to where they’d come from…,” Fofana said in a tweet.

I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.

“Meanwhile passengers who’ve just arrived on an Air Peace flight from Nigeria have also been asked to be quarantined. They’ve refused, citing the (Sierra Leone) government policy which says only passengers from countries with up to 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus should be automatically quarantined,” he said in a follow up tweet.

Sierra Leone remains one of a handful African countries yet to record a coronavirus case. But like all governments are doing, the presidency released a detailed statement that outlined directives crucially banning overseas travel for all government officials and urged members of the public to heed same.

An initial statement had directed thus: “Public gatherings should not be attended by more than One Hundred (100) persons,” the second directive read. But a Ministerial team that visited the airport on Monday had urged passengers to adhere to health protocols.

A statement from the president on the pandemic read: “I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.”

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