Sierra Leone Imposes Ebola Virus Lockdown

Health News Radon

Extreme Measures to Fight Ebola Virus

NEW YORK – International News – Sierra Leone is one of the countries worst hit by West Africa’s Ebola outbreak. Health workers are trying to identify new cases of the deadly virus and stop it from spreading, but resources to fight the outbreak are scarce.

That is why the government has taken extraordinary measures to attempt to bring the Ebola Virus under control — Lockdown.

For three days people in Sierra Leone will not be allowed to leave their homes.

Police officers and soldiers will be deployed across the country to enforce the lockdown.
Sierra Leone Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Theo Nichol states, “Initially it’s a three day lock down but after the three days government will reconsider. If the result coming now that the spread is minimized, we may be tempted to increase the days, some other days.”

But not everyone agrees with the drastic move.

World leaders are failing to address the worst ever Ebola epidemic, and states with biological-disaster response capacity, including civilian and military medical capability, must immediately dispatch assets and personnel to West Africa, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced today in a special briefing at the United Nations organized by the office of the UN Secretary General and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a speech delivered to UN member states, MSF International President Dr. Joanne Liu denounced the lack of deployment of resources, which has to date relied on overstretched ministries of health and private nongovernmental organizations to tackle the exceptionally large outbreak. Despite repeated calls by MSF for a massive mobilization on the ground, the international response has been lethally inadequate. Transmission rates have reached levels never before reported in past Ebola outbreaks, and the further spread of the virus will not be prevented without a massive deployment of specialized medical units to bolster epidemic control efforts in affected countries.

MSF medical teams have been battling the outbreak in West Africa since March. Nongovernmental groups and the United Nations cannot alone implement the WHO Global Roadmap to fight the ever growing and unpredictable epidemic.

“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” said Dr. Liu. “Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The WHO announcement on August 8 that epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction,” she said.

Many countries possess biological threat response mechanisms. They can deploy trained civilian or military medical teams in a matter of days, in an organized fashion, and with a chain of command to assure high standards of safety and efficiency to support the affected countries. MSF insists, however, that any military assets and personnel deployed to the region should not be used for quarantine, containment, or crowd control measures. Forced quarantines have only bred fear and unrest, rather than stem the virus.

“Funding announcements and the deployment of a few experts do not suffice,” said Dr. Liu. “States with the required capacity have a political and humanitarian responsibility to come forward and offer a desperately needed, concrete response to the disaster unfolding in front of the world’s eyes. Rather than limit their response to the potential arrival of an infected patient in their countries, they should take the unique opportunity to actually save lives where immediately needed, in West Africa.”

Canada Says Do Not Travel to Sierra Leone

The Government of Canada recommends that Canadians avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that Canadians in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo take special precautions.

Consult the Government of Canada Travel Health Notices for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and for NigeriaSenegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo for more information on Ebola virus disease and how to protect yourself if you must travel to the affected countries. Additional information is available on the Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo Country travel advice and advisories pages.

FILES: Daily Motion / Reuters / Doctors without Borders

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