Sierra Leoneans across the country have gone into the second day of the Three day lock down tagged ”stay at home ”. With the exception of health workers, local and international journalists, and other essential service workers all others must remain indoors from 6:00am (local time) on Friday to 6:00pm on Sunday.
This is in direct response to presidential orders through the National Ebola Response Centre. The rationale behind this decision is to ensure the country gets to zero infections by the 16th March 2015 the date stipulated by all Manu River Union countries.
The country’s capital Freetown was deserted as the order took effect, with markets, businesses, banks and office buildings closed.
The only vehicles seen on the streets were driven by healthcare workers. Red Cross emergency health coordinator John Fleming said the streets of the capital’s normally bustling Aberdeen fishing community were “eerily quiet” for the past days.
“There’s nobody in the street,” he said from a site overlooking the city’s slums.
The lockdown was called over fears the disease that has killed about 3,700 out of 11,800 people infected in Sierra Leone was making a comeback in certain parts of the country.
Following the outbreak in neighbouring Guinea, the disease spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, which have together seen over 10,300 deaths, figures from the World Health Organisation states.
Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses ever known; it is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
“We are embarking on active case finding in all the hotspots in the country,” said Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh, head of the National Ebola Response Centre.
As the lockdown carries on through the weekend, nearly 26,000 volunteers are going door-to-door in a national search for hidden corpses and sick people, with particular focus on hotspots in the Western Area and Northern axis of the country.
However there are still challenges of electricity, water and adequate food as the bulk of Sierra Leoneans are average earners and practically live from “hand to mouth”.