Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone declares three-day lockdown in north

  • 25 December 2014
  • From the section Africa
Health workers carry the body of a suspected Ebola victim for burial at a cemetery in Freetown December 21, 2014. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sierra Leone recently overtook Liberia as the worst affected country in the Ebola outbreak

Sierra Leone has declared lockdown of at least three days in the north of the country to try to contain the Ebola epidemic.

Shops, markets and non-Ebola related travel services will be shut down, officials said.

Sierra Leone has already banned many public Christmas celebrations.

More than 7,500 people have died from the outbreak in West Africa so far, the Word Health Organization (WHO) says, with Sierra Leone the worst hit.

Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa, with more than 9,000 cases and more than 2,400 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The other countries at the centre of the outbreak are Liberia and Guinea.

State of emergency

Alie Kamara, resident minister for the Northern Region, told AFP news agency that most public gatherings would be cancelled.

"Muslims and Christians are not allowed to hold services in mosques and churches throughout the lockdown except for Christians on Christmas Day", he said.

No unauthorised vehicles would be allowed to operate "except those officially assigned to Ebola-related assignments" he added.

The lockdown would operate for at least three days but this could be extended if deemed necessary, officials said.

Sierra Leone has been in a state of emergency since July.

The outbreak began a year ago in the West African country of Guinea, but only gained international attention in early 2014.

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