Africa

Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone bans Christmas celebrations

  • 12 December 2014
  • From the section Africa
Health workers from Sierra Leone"s Red Cross Society Burial Team 7 carry a corpse out of a house in Freetown on November 12, 2014
Image caption Public gatherings could easily help spread Ebola

Sierra Leone has banned public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year, because of the Ebola crisis.

Soldiers are to be deployed on the streets throughout the festive period to keep people indoors, officials say.

Christmas is widely celebrated in Sierra Leone, even though Islam is the largest religion.

Sierra Leone has the most cases of Ebola in the current outbreak. Some 6,580 have died, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

President Ernest Bai Koroma told traditional leaders to stop traditional practices as part of efforts to end Ebola in the country, Awoko newspaper reports.

The president added that despite international aid, it seemed "as if the cases are increasing", especially in north-western areas such as Port Loko and the Bombali region.

Meanwhile in Mali, the last person still to be treated for Ebola has been cured leaving no more cases in the country, the health ministry announced.

The country recorded eight cases of Ebola - including six deaths - and is continuing to monitor a number of people who were in contact with patients.

Overtaking Liberia

Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa, with more than 8,000 cases and some 1,900 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

It overtook Liberia as the country with the most cases earlier in December, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures.

The West African outbreak of Ebola is the deadliest ever.

The virus, which was first identified in 1976, causes vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding.

People are infected through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has the virus or has died from Ebola.


Ebola deaths

Figures up to 13 January 2016

11,315

Deaths - probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one in the US and six in Mali)

  • 4,809 Liberia

  • 3,955 Sierra Leone

  • 2,536 Guinea

  • 8 Nigeria

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