Sierra Leone declares Ebola public health emergency


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Sierra Leone’s president has declared a public health emergency to curb the deadly Ebola outbreak, BBC reports.

Ernest Bai Koroma said the epicentres of the outbreak in the east would be quarantined and asked the security forces to enforce the measures.

The UN says 729 people in West Africa have died of Ebola since February — 233 of them in Sierra Leone.

This includes Dr. Sheik Umar Khan who led Sierra Leone’s fight against the virus. His funeral is on Thursday.

Ebola is spread through human contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.


Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.

As part of the new measures to contain the viral haemorrhagic fever, travellers at airports will have to wash their hands with disinfectant and have their temperatures checked, President Koroma said in a statement.

All deaths must also be reported to the authorities before burial, he said.

His measures — to remain in place for between 60 and 90 days — follow tough anti-Ebola policies introduced this week in neighbouring Liberia, where schools have been closed and some communities are to be quarantined.

Both President Koroma and his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have cancelled visits to Washington for the US-Africa summit next week because of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is to begin screening all passengers arriving from West Africa and Kenya has stepped up surveillance at all ports of entry.

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said ground and on-board staff would have also been sensitised on how to handle suspected cases of the virus.

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday that it was not recommending any travel restrictions or border closures after consulting the World Health Organisation, according to Reuters.


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