The number of new cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone has jumped dramatically, putting paid to any hopes that the infection rate is slowing. Official figures released by the minister of health and sanitation show there were 111 new cases registered on Sunday, the highest daily rate since the ministry started publishing figures in August. There were 45 new cases the day before, including 24 in the capital, Freetown.
Cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone are still rising quickly, campaigners have warned. In rural parts of the country, the virus is spreading nine times faster than two months ago, a report from the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) found. AGI – an organisation set up by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair – said rates are also increasing in the capital Freetown, with six times more new cases recorded per day than two months ago.
After emerging months ago in eastern Sierra Leone, Ebola is now hitting the western edges of the country where the capital is located with dozens of people falling sick each day, the government said Tuesday. So many people are dying that removing bodies is reportedly a problem. Forty-nine confirmed cases of Ebola emerged in just one day, Monday, in two Ebola zones in and around the capital, the National Ebola Response Center, or NERC, said.
Sierra Leone wrapped up its 72-hour shutdown on Sunday, with authorities reporting that the action aimed at containing the Ebola epidemic had uncovered up to 70 dead bodies in and around the capital. Most of the West African country’s six million people were confined to their homes for a third straight day, with only essential workers such as health professionals and security forces exempt. Almost 30,000 volunteers have been going door-to-door to educate locals and hand out soap, in an exercise that was expected to lead to scores more patients and bodies being discovered in homes.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has accelerated quickly with almost 1,000 deaths in the last month alone, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures. The United Nations is establishing an Ebola Crisis Centre with the goal of stopping transmission in affected countries within six to nine months, the UN chief said, as the death toll from the outbreak surpassed 2,000 for the first time. WHO said the number of people who have died in the outbreak has reached 2,097 across five West Africa countries, with about half the deaths in Liberia.