Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone starts countrywide lockdown

Freetown – Sierra Leone began a three-day, countrywide lockdown on Friday, after the West African nation reported 55 new Ebola cases last week.

Sierra Leone’s six million people will have to stay at home until Sunday, while health workers go from door to door to collect information on new Ebola infections and deaths.

Health workers will particularly focus on the capital, Freetown, and the country’s north, Sierra Leone’s epicentres of the epidemic, said Alfred Palo Conteh, head of the National Ebola Response Centre.

Government is “hoping it will be the last push to end the Ebola outbreak”, said Patrick Fatoma, another Ebola Response Centre official.

A similar lockdown in September was lauded by government as a success in slowing down the transmission of the virus.

Sierra Leone is one of the countries hardest hit by an Ebola epidemic, with 11 866 reported infections and 3 764 deaths.

The number of people who have become infected with Ebola in the last 16 months has reached 24 927 worldwide, of which 10 338 died, according to the World Health Organisation.

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