Sierra Leone imposes curfew after spike in Ebola cases

Two northern districts to remain under curfew for next 21 days to contain the disease, country's president announces.

    The 18-month-long Ebola epidemic has killed more than 11,100 people in West Africa [AP]
    The 18-month-long Ebola epidemic has killed more than 11,100 people in West Africa [AP]

    Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has imposed curfews in two northern districts after the number of new Ebola cases in the country spiked to the highest level in months.

    Offenders will be detained and prosecuted if they violate the new measures, which will be in effect for the next 21 days.

    "I have instructed the security to institute chiefdom-level curfew and restriction on movement from 6pm to 6am in Kambia and Port Loko districts, with immediate effect," Koroma said in a televised address on Friday.

    The two districts lie on the route between the capital Freetown and the Guinea border and have been the focus of recent cases.

    Sierra Leone reported seven confirmed cases on June 9, the highest count since March 24, according to the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC).

    The 18-month-long Ebola epidemic has killed more than 11,100 people in West Africa, although weekly numbers of new cases have fallen sharply from last year's peaks. One of the three worst-affected countries, Liberia, was declared Ebola-free in May.

    Sierra Leone and Guinea, however, are still regularly reporting several new cases daily, prompting both to extend emergency measures.

    Oxfam's country director Thynn Thynn Hlaing warned that the new measures would only work if residents were involved in designing and implementing them.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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