Due to reports regarding Ebola virus diagnoses that have been made in the two districts of Kambia and Port Loko, the president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has placed a mandatory curfew between dusk and dawn, effective immediately. With the Ebola virus having already completely consumed Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the president has prohibited all movement within the two districts in an effort to determine how far the fatal disease has spread, but containment has proven problematic due to diagnosed patients escaping quarantine and burial rituals being performed on the deceased, encouraging transmission.
On Friday, during a televised public announcement, Koromo stated that he has already ordered security officials in the Port Loko and Kambia districts to, without delay, put into action a high-ranking level type of curfew, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to regulate movement. As of right now, the curfew will be lasting for a period of 21 days, which is the same amount of time that it will take for any person who had been exposed to the Ebola virus disease to begin to develop symptoms of infection. For all who take it upon themselves to disregard this newly instituted curfew will find that they will be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In West Africa, there has been well over 13,000 lives lost as a result of the Ebola virus disease. Even though some countries like Nigeria have seemingly appeared to rid themselves of the deadly disease, Liberia and Sierra Leone are still struggling to ensure their survival against the virus during this catastrophic ordeal.
Sierra Leone has been battling with the ability to keep the Ebola virus disease contained. Patients who have been diagnosed with Ebola have found ways to escape from quarantine, allowing for the disease to continue to spread throughout the country, as well as performing burial rituals that leave plenty of room for the mixing of bodily fluids.
These burial rituals, which involves washing the body of the deceased who’s deathly fate was caused by the Ebola virus, are being performed by healthy individuals, which inevitably causes them to be exposed to the disease, which can be very easily transmitted through bodily fluids, such as sweat and blood. Without having the capability to make certain that diagnosed patients remain quarantined and bodies of the deceased are kept away, it is very difficult to prevent incidents of exposure from occurring and causing the lethal virus to continue to spread.
The current international president of Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Joanne Liu, said that health authorities are not equipped with the tools that would enable them to take control over the disease, if it were to become an outbreak similar to the one West Africa experienced a year ago. A group of seven leaders made a vow to eradicate the disease that has claimed so many lives across West Africa, but they have yet to bring any possible ideas regarding a plan of action to the table. Doctors Without Borders country head for Guinea, Jerome Mouton, made comments about the virus that indicated he was in a slight state of denial in terms of how serious these sudden reports of Ebola virus cases really are.
He said that Guinea is maintaining positivity and that they are just about over Ebola hump, so there is not much of a problem left to deal with, but then followed up by saying, indeed Guinea is facing an enormous obstacle by possibly heading straight towards another epidemic. Solutions concerning the Ebola virus spreading must be created then implemented, to restrict diagnosed patients from making a quarantine escape or gaining exposure to the deceased with prevention of further burial rituals. Last month, Mouton believed that the torment that has plagued Guinea would soon be all over, but now, Mouton’s words that once spoke of hope and optimism have been replaced with fearful predictions of what the future might have in store.
By Kameron Hadley
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Photos Courtesy of European Commission DG ECHO’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License