Sierra Leone: Govt Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions Despite Growing Cases

President Julius Maada Bio.

Freetown — Sierra Leone residents can now freely move from one district to another without the need for a special pass, as the government gradually relaxes Covid-19 restrictions despite increasing number of infections.

The inter-district blockade had gone on for more than two months, but it has now been lifted.

President Julius Maada Bio, who also announced the easing of a 10-hour nationwide curfew, said Tuesday the restrictions had been imposed to save lives but it was time to consider their effects on the country's struggling economy.

"The fight against Covid-19 is a fight between livelihood and life; it has to be measured," the President said at a special press conference held at State House in Freetown.

"We should not kill the economy, especially in the region, by continuing to maintain the rigid or hard lockdown that we had put in place."

There are further plans to reopen the country's international airport, which is currently opened for emergency services only.

The Covid-19 restrictions were first imposed on April 12, 2020. The country recorded its first case of the coronavirus disease on March 30.

As of June 23, Sierra Leone had recorded 1,347 confirmed coronavirus cases and 55 related deaths.

The president said the decisions were taken after consultation with experts and based on scientific data. He added that the measures will be reviewed as necessary.

President Bio added that a regional dialogue among leaders of the four-member Mano River Union, comprising Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire, was being planned to discuss a regional approach to reopen their international borders.

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