Sierra Leone began quarantining areas of Ebola infection, as international health officials announced an international $100m plan to combat an epidemic which has already killed more than 700 people in West Africa.
Security forces set up quarantines on Thursday, hours after Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, ordered a state of emergency, cancelled a trip to the US and called a summit with regional leaders and the World Health Organisation on how to deal with the crisis.
“I hereby proclaim a state of public emergency to enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak,” he said in a speech late on Wednesday, adding that the measures would initially last between 60 and 90 days. “All centres of the disease will be quarantined,” he added.
Koroma said that the police and the military would restrict movement between affected areas, and would provide support to health officers and NGOs following a number of attacks on health workers by local communities.
Koroma also said that house-to-house searches would be implemented to trace Ebola victims and quarantine them.
He added that new protocols had been established for passengers arriving and departing Lungi airport outside Freetown.
In a statement, the WHO said the death toll from the outbreak of Ebola had risen to 729 after 57 deaths were reported between July 24 and 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
The WHO added that its $100m fund will be launched at a Friday meeting in Conakry, Guinea.
“The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level,” the organisation said.
“This will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination.” Al Jazeera