Sierra Leone has on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes two weeks after the variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South African authorities. According to a social media post by BBC and Reuters reporter Umaru Fofanah, a statement from the country’s Ministry of Health states that the infected person was a passenger who flew into the country from Nigeria.
This is the fourth wave of the virus in the country, and before now there has been a massive reduction in the number of positive recorded cases in Sierra Leone. But in the last 73 hours, the country had recorded over 18 positive cases after staying at zero for a long time.
Hours before Fofanah made the post, the spokesman for Sierra Leone’s National Covid-19 Emergency Response Center. Solomon Jamiru shared his candid advice to people living in the country to be preventive as the country has just started recording cases.
“Remember that no COVID-19 variant is dangerous, unless with our indulgence. We, humans, weaponize them and make them lethal when we refuse to put on our shield of protection. Delta yesterday, OMICRON today. The responsibility is ours to deprive any of the COVID-19 mutants of the prominence they seek,” he stated.
However, Sierra Leone is on the verge of starting a third nationwide vaccine surge, with intensity in Freetown and the districts bordering Liberia and Guinea. Sierra Leone has so far recorded a total of 6420 positive confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 4399 recoveries and 122 deaths.
The Omicron variant has an unusually large number of mutations, its level of variations has led to concerns regarding its transmissibility, immune system evasion, and vaccine resistance. The variant has spread to over 50 countries across the world as of December 1, 2021, and travel restrictions have been introduced by many countries in an attempt to slow its spread.