The British government has today announced that on Monday 19th July, 4am, Sierra Leone will join a long list of countries with very high prevalence of Covid infections, from which travellers are banned from entering England.

Indonesia, Myanmar, Cuba and Sierra Leone have been downgraded from amber to red in the latest reshuffle of the government’s traffic light lists for international travel.

However, travellers from those countries who still wish to enter the UK will now be subject to 11 nights of government-mandated hotel quarantine, at a cost of £1,750 per solo traveller.

Meanwhile, Solomon Jamiru, the spokesperson of Sierra Leone’s National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) has cricitized the decision of the British government while emphasising that recent measures by government has yielded positive impact in reducing number of cases in the country.

He wrote; “Fellow Sierra Leoneans

“The UK Government website alerts that Sierra Leone will move from amber to red list effective 4 am on 19 July. Only British or Irish nationals and non-nationals with residency permit will be allowed entry into UK (and subjected to quarantine protocols).

“By 7th July, cases had dropped by 44%, and by July 14, by a further 20%. Bed occupancy in treatment and care centers also dropped from 46% on July 7, to 37% by July 14. Remember that Sierra Leone scaled down beds from over 1,000 to around 400 due to low case numbers after the second wave, until the third wave spike.

“Cases have dropped consistently from previous weekly total of 523 (May 25-31) to 292 (July 1-7) to 233 (July 8-14).

“This means that the measures announced by President Bio are having a positive impact. We can do better than this, and that is why we are sustaining communication, community engagement and enforcement of measures. That’s why surveillance is being intensified, testing ramped up, and case management agile.

“We see what it means when travel bans are imposed on our people, even though the decision doesn’t situate justly within the statistics. What makes Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 situation a red zone when there are countries deeply embattled than us? Can someone explain the fundamental distinction?

“Delta variant is the dominant global variant which was detected in Sierra Leone three weeks ago, and also detected from passengers coming from India and UK. One month ago, delta variant accounted for 96% of new cases in UK, and still spreading. In the US, it is also accounting for most of the spikes. By July 1, it was detected in over 96 countries, and 4 days ago detected in 22 African countries. Now, WHO Africa Regional Director Dr Moeti suggests that Africa has gone through the most dire pandemic week ever, but the worst is yet to come. That is what as a nation we are avoiding, and we are seeing the results of our interventions.

“We are inconceivably perplexed by judgements that are arbitrarily imposed. We may not have vaccinated in measures we ought to, but our situation isn’t a Holocaust.

“The July 19 game of horror should be reconsidered, that is not a correct statement of the resilience of our people and a Response that has enjoyed the participation of the most acclaimed institutions in world health and disease prevention and control. We must all be in this fight together. Sierra Leoneans,

“I pray that this brings us together more to fight this common enemy and bounce back better and stronger.”