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Homeland Security

Sierra Leone Under 3-Day Ebola Lockdown

by VOA News March 27, 2015

People in Sierra Leone have been told to stay at home this weekend as authorities make another attempt to stop the Ebola epidemic that has claimed more than 3,000 lives in the country.

The national lockdown announced by the government began Friday and runs through Sunday evening. During that time, health workers will go door to door to look for hidden Ebola patients and remind people how to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Alfred Palo Conteh, who heads the country's Ebola response center, told reporters that health workers also aim to fight complacency.

Ebola has infected an estimated 12,000 people in Sierra Leone, more than in any other country. Case numbers have fallen steadily in recent months but 33 new cases were reported last week, mostly around the capital of Freetown and in the north, near the border with Guinea.

Guinea continues to combat a steady stream of new cases but the outbreak has virtually stopped in Liberia, which has only one known case.

Last September, Sierra Leone, a country of 6 million people, conducted a similar lockdown which uncovered dozens of previously-unknown Ebola patients.

The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 10,000 people in all across the three countries since the first cases came to light in Guinea at the end of 2013.

The disease is spread through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

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