Sierra Leone an­nounces new cur­few to halt Ebola


Sierra Leone’s Pres­i­dent Ernest Bai Koroma said Fri­day he was im­pos­ing a three-week day­time cur­few in the last Ebola-hit ar­eas in a bid to curb a resur­gence of the deadly virus.

Koroma an­nounced on state tele­vi­sion he was im­pos­ing “with im­me­di­ate ef­fect a 6:00 am to 6:00 pm chief­dom-level cur­few” in parts of the north­west­ern dis­tricts of Kam­bia and Port Loko, the only ar­eas still re­port­ing new in­fec­tions.

Peo­ple in the worst-hit chief­doms, or ar­eas, of those dis­tricts will be con­fined to their homes for 21 days, he said, warn­ing that any­one found flout­ing the or­der would find them­selves in jail for the same pe­riod.

“Now, more than ever, is the time for us to re­main vig­i­lant,” he said.

The latest lock­down was called over fears that the dis­ease that has killed about 3,900 in Sierra Leone was mak­ing a come­back in the north­west.

Neigh­bor­ing Liberia was de­clared Ebola- free in May, but hopes that Sierra Leone and Guinea would quickly fol­low suit have been dashed in re­cent weeks.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) said on Wed­nes­day the re­treat of the virus “that was ap­par­ent through­out April and early May has stalled.”

It said there were 31 con­firmed new cases in the week end­ing June 7 — 15 in Sierra Leone and 16 in Guinea, where the out­break be­gan in De­cem­ber 2013.

In the pre­vi­ous week, 13 cases had been found in Guinea, a clear in­crease on the nine re­ported a week be­fore that.

The pat­tern was sim­i­lar in Sierra Leone, where 12 new cases were found in the last week of May com­pared to only three the pre­vi­ous week.

“This is the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive weekly in­crease in case in­ci­dence, and the high­est weekly to­tal num­ber of cases re­ported from Sierra Leone since late March,” the re­port said.

One of the dead­li­est viruses known to man, Ebola is spread only through di­rect con­tact with the bod­ily flu­ids of an in­fected per­son show­ing symp­toms, such as fever or vom­it­ing.

Since Ebola spread to Sierra Leone in May last year, the gov­ern­ment has im­posed sev­eral lo­cal and na­tion­wide cur­fews as it fights to halt the epi­demic.

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