Sierra Leone Enforces Ban on Congregational Worships – As Delta Variant makes its way into Africa.

COVID-19 misinformation is escalating; vaccine anxiety is building up, but in all this, the media has a role to play in demystifying the fare created by fake news.

By Uzman Unis Bah

Freetown, Sierra Leone—President Julius Maada Bio has placed a one-month sanction on congregations for all faiths – worshippers are obliged to worship privately in their homes as the delta variant makes its way into the country. In a public statement issued by the president, the Government, as of Monday 5th, July, will enforce a night curfew and urge citizens to show up for vaccination.

Hospitalization has increased in the past weeks, with 72% of in-patient hospital care; more people are perishing, and the capital city endures as the epicentre of the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, the president said.

The president affirms that according to WHO, the world is facing the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak, and Sierra Leone has detected the Delta variant in the country, a variant that is easily communicable and highly fatal.

Effective Monday 5th, July 2021. from 11 pm to 5 am daily, there will be a nationwide curfew for one month; while restaurants and bars are allowed to operate till 9 pm, they are encouraged to serve take-out meals.

Congregational worship in mosques, churches, and other religious places will remain halted for a period of one month effective Friday 2nd, July 2021; Attendance at funerals, weddings, and other social events shall be limited to a total of fifty people, the president said in his telecast statement to the nation.

Europe sees a down drop in its infections cases and moves to relaxing restrictions; the latest move by The Netherlands allows vaccinated foreign travellers from the Non-EU region to enter the country. Africa seems to be unsettled by the delta variant. In recent weeks, data from the continent show a steep increase in COVID-19 cases, an alarming situation that intensifies panic amidst the COVID Vaccine Scaremongering.

The National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) has rolled out measures in line with the WHO guidelines. Since the outbreak, NaCOVERC gives advisories on preventive measures, which remain in force but mostly flouted by a chunk of the population.

In countries like Sierra Leone, with an aged old struggling health system, adopting preventive measures is necessary for tackling pandemics and curbing outbreaks. As stated by President Bio, NaCOVERC will enforce the COVID-19 regulations strictly.

The president reaffirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines are available in this country are safe and effective, accredited by the World Health Organization and the country’s Pharmacy Board. The president encourages the citizens to opt for the vaccine, which will protect against COVID-19.

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2, is a variant of group B.1.617 of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19; first seen in India in late 2020. The World Health Organization named it the Delta variant on 31 May 2021.

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