Sierra Leone: Confusion as Two COVID-19 Patients Go Missing

(file photo).

The authorities in Sierra Leone are searching for two people said to have tested positive for coronavirus but suddenly went missing.

The men had been in self-isolation after they were traced to an earlier confirmed case as primary contacts.

The confirmation of their cases brought the country's total of the Covid-19 cases to 10, as of Saturday April 11.

When the news broke out on Saturday, the men were reported to be lecturers of the Fourah Bay College. But the college has issued a statement saying they were not lecturers and that they were working there in another capacity.

The issue has rekindled the persistent debate over the efficacy of the government's policy allowing people to self-isolate when they are identified as possible contacts.

The two men reportedly were part of a group of officials who held a meeting which was also attended by someone who later tested positive.

Officials later informed all those who attended the meeting to isolate themselves.

A spokesman for the University of Sierra Leone, under which FBC falls, said the college administration was urging the men to come out of hiding and get treatment. It also called on all those who attended that meeting to come forward for testing.

As of Sunday, there were now 445 people in quarantine across Sierra Leone, up from 374 on Friday.

Meanwhile, the government on Saturday dismissed report that one of the country's cases had died of the virus.

That claim was reportedly made by the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional office, apparently in an erroneous tweet.

In a statement Sunday morning announcing further restrictions, Sierra Leone's presidency also added its voice to the issue, saying there were no deaths in the country.

A spokesman for the WHO country office confirmed to the Africa Review that it was an error from their regional office, but he said they had rectified it.

"We have taken the necessary corrective measures. We have pulled it down and replaced it with the correct information," said Saffea Gborie, Information Officer for the WHO in Freetown.

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