Three-day lockdown in Sierra Leone ends

The three day lockdown in Sierra Leone aimed at halting what is currently the biggest Ebola outbreak in the world has ended, with authorities claiming that the extreme scheme had succeeded, with dozens of new infections and bodies found.

The government of Sierra Leone at the start ordered 6 million residents to stay indoors, while volunteers went around educating households on Ebola while isolating the sick and removing the dead.

Stephem Gaojia, head of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and currently in charge of the national Ebola response, said to Reuters: “Even though the exercise has been a huge success so far, it has not been concluded in some metropolitan cities like Freetown and Kenema.”

He also said that by the end of Saturday, 92 bodies had been found across the country. 123 people had contacted authorities during the lockdown, believing themselves to be infected. Out of that number, 56 tested positive, 31 negative and 36 were still awaiting results.

Despite the lockdown ending at midnight on Sunday, earlier in the evening in the capital Freetown, residents came out to sing and dance in some parts of the city. Police had said they had to make a number of arrests in the final hours of the lockdown to enforce the measure.

The intention of the lockdown was to allow 30,000 health workers, volunteers and teachers to visit every household in the country. However there has been criticism of the measure, even before it started on Friday since the rush to stock up on essentials led to a spike in prices of food and such.

Also the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres warned that the lockdown would prompt people to hide cases for infection. However residents for the most part had co-operated with the plan, with the streets of the capital being largely deserted.

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