Airport passengers bemoan quarantine centre

Passengers who flew into Sierra Leone from various destinations with cases of the novel corona virus, including Europe, Asia and some African countries  into  Lungi airport, have expressed dissatisfaction over the condition of the Lungi airport hotel quarantine centre. 

An anonymous passenger who arrived from the United States told the FrontPage on phone that they were taken to the Lungi airport hotel quarantine facility by armed security forces without any medical personnel, he described the facility as substandard and not fit for purpose.

"We were left stranded outside the hotel premise with blatant disregard for safety measures. We don't know among us who could have the virus, we were left clustered outside for hours before the authorities later came," he said.

He maintained that the hotel premise did not even look like a holding centre for quarantine passengers and blamed the attitude of the authorities and the lack of preparedness for the spread of Ebola virus disease which killed hundreds of people.

The airport authorities were also accused of taking bribes to allow passengers by-pass the mandatory quarantine period. The social media information furthered that the Lungi Airport hotel where the passengers were lodged

It could be recalled that few days ago, government announced some precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering Sierra Leone. Among the measures announced, passengers coming from countries with 50 or more confirmed cases would be automatically quarantined, while those from countries with less than 50 cases would not be quarantined but would be have their details taken and they would be contacted  throughout the 14-day period.

Also travelers arriving at any point of entry with one of three signs and symptoms – fever above 37.5 degrees, persistent cough or difficult breathing – will be mandatorily isolated for investigation and management.   

The Public Relations Manager of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA) has said that it is erroneous for people to allege that Airport Authority officials are allowing arrivals not to undergo quarantine at the Lungi Airport Hotel.

Madam Mallay Betty Brima said that the SLAA works directly with officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to see that all arrivals from Corona affected and or suspected countries are quarantined. She added that the process is done without any fear or favour.

With the prevalence and surfacing of the Corona Virus in most parts of the globe and Sierra Leone’s neighboring countries of Guinea and Liberia, vigilance has been mounted in Sierra Leone.   Among other things, all public and social gatherings that may have the likelihood to exceed the coming together and or meeting of over one hundred persons have been banned until further notice. In like manner, all sporting activities for schools, communities and colleges have been suspended. The Police have also issued a statement cancelling the approval of mini and major entertainment shows that were scheduled to take place at the end of March and early April, 2020. The Sierra Leone Premier League has also been put on hold.

The Directorate of Health Security and Emergency (DHSE) said that between Tuesday and Wednesday they had more quarantine cases in the country as many Sierra Leoneans came from England and the United States. Communication Lead, Harold Thomas said that it was due to the number of people that arrived that they had problems in settling them down as the first quarantine base was full and they had to move them to a second base, which caused the delay. He ssaid that currently the cumulative quarantine figures stands at 144 with 56 people under quarantine. Also none of them has manifested symptoms as those that had headache and fever have been treated and they are all doing fine. After 14 days they will be allowed to go home so long they are well without the virus.The FrontPage19032020.