EBOLA EPICENTERS IN SIERRA LEONE QUARANTINED
Aug 08 8:15
FREETOWN, The epicenters of the ebola virus in Sierra Leone have been completely quarantined as the military and the police surrounded the two eastern districts preventing all vehicular traffic from leaving or entering the areas.
A local journalist in the Kenema district informed Xinhua that the order came from the local unit commander, Karrow Kamara who was following the president's order to quarantine the area to contain the spread of the disease. The action would last 60 to 90 days.
About 750 military men and 50 nurses were deployed in the Kenema and Kailahun districts. Troops have also been deployed in isolated areas near the border giving unhindered access to health workers.
Journalist Ahmed Kallon in Kenema said the movement of journalists were also effected, noting that if the act continues both radio and newspaper journalists in the districts would down tools.
A resident in the area told Xinhua that some people tried to travel to Freetown but were stopped by the police.
The deployment mechanism, according to the Military spokesman Col. Mohamed Samura, is part of the inter-border isolation strategy agreed by the three Mano River Union leaders on last Friday.
Meanwhile in ABUJA, Nigeria will begin to screen outbound passengers before allowing them to leave the West African country as a way of preventing the contagious Ebola virus which is gradually spreading to countries across the world, an official said.
Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria's minister of health, said the screening exercise will commence next week as efforts are geared toward putting everything in place.
"We are trying to get personnel in place. We have equipment, but we need more personnel. It is not easy screening all the airports, so we are trying to fill that gap," said Chukwu, in an interaction with reporters in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Authorities in Nigeria made the decision to screen all outbound passengers less than 24 hours after the country declared national emergency on Ebola, noting everyone in the world now is at risk.
Chukwu told reporters that the experience of Nigeria had opened the eyes of the world to the reality of Ebola. So far, two deaths have been recorded due to Ebola infection in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.
The outbreak, by far the largest in the nearly 40-year history of the disease, has infected 1,711 people and killed 932 this year in four western African countries, namely Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.