Karene district falls to COVID-19

Karene district has recorded its first two cases of the dreaded Coronavirus on 27 June 2020, three days after the President lifted the inter-district travel ban. The cases, according to the Response Team, had no links with any confirmed cases, which makes them serious. The team blamed the cases on the likelihood of a new community transmission. According to information from the National Response Team, the two persons were presented to the district health centre with COVID-19 symptoms, which their tests confirmed. Meanwhile, the surveillance team confirmed the duo had absolutely no links with any confirmed cases across the country – the more reasons for the many speculations about a new community transmission.

It took most of the country’s 15 districts less than a month to register confirmed cases, especially after government heightened restrictions, including two national lockdowns, partial lockdown on inter-district travel and a nationwide curfew that was announced on 11 April 2020. Recent restrictions adjustment by the President was received with mixed feelings by the general populace and the COVID-19 Response Team, who largely believed the removal of the inter-district lockdown was not timely.

Three days after the removal of the inter-district lockdown (Wednesday 24 June 2020), Karene district confirmed two positive cases (Saturday 27 June 2020). The day’s updates indicated that out of 164 samples that were analysed only 16 returned positive, representing  two (2) from Karene district in the North, five (5) from Western Area Urban, one (1)from Bonthe district in the South, five (5)from Bo district in the South, and three (3)from Tonkolili district in the North.

A cumulative total of 11,046 samples were analysed, returning a total of 12.8 percent positive cases or 1,410 confirmed cases. The country’s recoveries rate stands at 66.5 percent, representing 937, with 59 deaths accounting for 4.2 percent. Despite challenges in the fight regarding salaries, poor accountability and procurement implementation, the use of facemasks remains difficult in containing the scourge. Major Dr Philip Gevao said it is unlikely that the two cases had traveled from other places into the district, stating the possibility of them being in the district the whole time cannot be denied. He said it is likely that there are people with cases of common cold and other infections that the centre had not been taking into consideration.

He, however, confirmed that there might be some semblance of community transmission in that part of the country.

By Mohamed Kabba