The Ministry of Health and Sanitation of the Republic of Sierra Leone has reported the country’s first case of COVID-19.
The patient is a 37-year-old Sierra Leonean Male. He had traveled to France on 12 March and returned on 16 March, when he was immediately put in mandatory managed quarantine for 14 days.
He was tested at the end of his quarantine period when he developed flu-like symptoms that subsequently led to the confirmation as COVID-19.
Samples tested at the Military 34 Hospital, and two other accredited laboratories to detect the virus, in the capital Freetown turned out positive on the evening of 30 March 2020.
“We must now focus on tracing the people that the patient may have come in contact with to be able to isolate and provide them with medical care,” said Evans Liyosi, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Sierra Leone.
“The coming days and weeks will be crucial. With robust prevention and treatment measures, we can stop widespread infections not only in the capital but across the country. We are working with the health authorities and other partners, providing the support needed to adequately tackle the virus,” he added.
WHO has been providing technical and material support to countries in Africa since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared. In Sierra Leone, specifically, the target is to promote prompt case identification and confirmation, protection of frontline health workers and screening of travelers, according WHO.