Lockdown recovers more Ebola cases


SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

The three-day ‘Ose-to-Ose Ebola Tok’ that aimed at stemming the further spread of deadly Ebola epidemic in the country ended on Sunday September 21 with dozens of new cases identified by visiting teams, who also located scores of bodies.

The country’s almost six million people were ordered to stay indoors (from September 19-21) as volunteers moved from house to house sensitizing residents on Ebola and distributing bars of soap to encourage the practice of hand washing as a means to curb the spread of the virulent disease.

National Coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Stephen Gaojia, said some 92 bodies were recovered across the country.

Some 123 people had contacted the authorities during the drive, believing they might be infected with the Ebola virus. Mr. Gaojia said 56 of them tested positive for the disease, 31 negative, while 36 were still awaiting results.

Even though the exercise was believed to be largely successful, Gaojia said few areas were not reached by the teams, especially in metropolitan cities like Freetown and Kenema.

Ebola has infected at least 5,357 people in West Africa since March, mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, killing 2,630 of those, according to the World Health Organisation.

At least 501 have died from the disease in Sierra Leone as at Sunday September 21.

Residents largely complied with the lockdown, with streets in the capital and the rest of the provincial areas mostly deserted.

The (EOC) said in a statement on Sunday that, after careful evaluation of the three days exercise, it has reached a conclusion that more than 75% of its intended target of reaching 1.5 million households across the country with the correct information on Ebola has been achieved.

It thanked the President, Ernest Bai Koroma “for giving the permission to carry out this three days sensitization exercise and the leadership he has shown in the fight against the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak in the country”.

The EOC also commended both local and international partners, including healthcare workers, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, volunteers, civil society organizations, and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), among others, for supporting the exercise.

“The EOC has officially ended the three-day stay-at-home, but the Social Mobilization exercise will continue in those communities that have been identified as hotspots across the country,” it said.