Sierra Leone Quarantines One Million People to Combat Ebola
Ebola hit Sierra Leone announced quarantine of one million people in three district of the country, in a bid to combat the deadly viral outbreak.
Informing that these areas were witnessing rise in Ebola cases, President Ernest Bai Koroma late Wednesday announced quarantine Port Loko, Bombali, and Moyamba districts. The isolation would restrict entry to people providing essential services. It was also announced that houses would be quarantined in rest of Sierra Leon including the capital Freetown, when cases are detected, CBC News reported.
"There is a desperate need to step up our response to this dreaded disease. The prognosis is that without additional interventions or changes in community behavior, the numbers will increase exponentially and the situation will rapidly deteriorate," Sierra Leone government was quoted saying by ABC News. With the latest control measures, nearly two million people across 14 districts of the country have been put under curfew.
The country was earlier put under a three-day lockdown. Healthcare workers went door to door to determine the spread of virus, carry out disinfection and also create awareness. During the lockdown, more than 300 suspicious cases and hundreds of corpses were discovered.
The Guardian pointed out starvation concerns in the three districts if optimal food delivery is not maintained during the indefinite lockdown. Noting that poor communities thrive in the isolated areas, Kelfa Kargbo, country director of Street Child charity said starvation is a major concern in these areas.
"We need more help from the World Food Programme, but more than that we need a distribution network to be built to make sure the food gets in and gets in regularly to the starving people. I am expecting starvation to show in three or four weeks unless this is addressed," Kargbo said.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has hit Sierra Leone and Liberia the hardest but was contained in Nigeria and Guinea. The outbreak took a toll on healthcare systems in these countries and has called for increased participation from the international community to combat it.