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Sierra Leone wraps up three-day Ebola lockdown

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BY UMARU FOFANA
FREETOWN Sun Sep 21, 2014

(Reuters) - Sierra Leoneans on Sunday celebrated the end of a three-day lockdown aimed at stemming the world's worst ever Ebola epidemic, as authorities claimed the controversial operation had identified dozens of new infections and located scores of bodies.

In the most extreme strategy employed by a nation since the epidemic began, Sierra Leone ordered its 6 million residents to stay indoors as volunteers circulated to educate households as well as isolate the sick and remove the dead.

In the early evening, even before the lockdown officially ended at midnight, residents in some parts of the capital Freetown emerged onto the streets to sing and dance. Police in the western part of the city said they had made a number of arrests in an attempt to enforce the measure in its final hours.

...

92 bodies had been recovered across the country by the end of Saturday, the second day of the lockdown.

Some 123 people had contacted authorities during the drive, believing they might be infected. Of these, 56 tested positive for Ebola, 31 tested negative and 36 were still awaiting their results, he said.

...

Some criticised the measure before it began on Friday as a rush to stock up on provisions caused a spike in prices, leaving many of Sierra Leone's poor unable to buy food.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has also warned that the lockdown could lead people to conceal cases.

Residents have largely complied with the plan, and the streets of the capital have remained mostly deserted, except for ambulances and police vehicles.

A team burying Ebola victims was attacked in Freetown on Saturday, however, as a small group defied the lockdown.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/21/us-health-ebola-leone-idUSKBN0HG0NW20140921

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