Ebola: Sierra Leone readies for three-day lockdown

The government of Sierra Leone announced Thursday a three-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease that has already claimed more than 500 lives in the West African country.

IANS| Last Updated: Sep 18, 2014, 22:15 PM IST

Pretoria: The government of Sierra Leone announced Thursday a three-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease that has already claimed more than 500 lives in the West African country.

The lockdown will start at midnight Friday as 20,000 health workers and volunteers will go from house to house to identify unreported Ebola cases.

However, a number of health experts warned that these measures could backfire and would not help to control the disease outbreak in the nation of six million.

Jean-Herve Bradol, a former director of medical aid group Medecins sans Frontiers(Doctors Without Borders), said that as one of Africa's poorest countries, Sierra Leone "doesn't have the capacity to visit every household in just three days".

Joseph Amon, health director at Human Rights Watch, said that "quarantines and other rights-abusive measures can undermine efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic”.

“The better approach is to ensure that people have access to health information and care," he said.

The current Ebola outbreak has so far killed more than 2,400 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday warned that the outbreak’s toll could reach 20,000.