Sierra Leone shuts
borders, closes schools to fight Ebola
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[June 12, 2014]
FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra
Leone shut its borders to trade with Guinea and Liberia
on Wednesday and closed schools, cinemas and nightclubs
in a frontier region in a bid to halt the spread of the
Sixteen people have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone, a figure that has
doubled in the last week, Ministry of Health figures showed.
Authorities will also mount health checkpoints in the eastern
Kailahun district and mandated that all deaths there be reported
before burial. Anyone who dies of the virus must be buried under the
supervision of health personnel, the Information Ministry said.
The decision to close district schools came after a nine-year-old
whose parents died of Ebola tested positive for the virus, Deputy
Minister of Information Theo Nicol told Reuters.
"There is more contacts between school-going kids than adults hence
the closure of schools in the most affected district," he said. The
ban exempted churches and mosques but religious leaders should urge
anyone with a fever to go to a clinic, he said.
Local groups welcomed the measures given public concern over the
virus, which can be transmitted by touching victims or their body
The virus initially causes a raging fever, headaches, muscle pain
and conjunctivitis, before moving to severe phases that bring on
vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
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Some 328 cases and 208 deaths are linked to Ebola in Guinea,
according to the World Health Organization, making the outbreak one
of the deadliest for years.
More than half of new deaths in Guinea were in the southern region
of Gueckedou, epicenter of the outbreak which began in February,
near the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders. The town is known for
its weekly market which attracts traders from neighboring countries.
(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Janet
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