TIME Infectious Disease

Sierra Leone Dispatches Troops to Enforce Ebola Quarantine

Troops and police have sealed off clinics and homes in hardest-hit localities

Updated 6:09 p.m. ET Aug. 6

Sierra Leone has dispatched 750 soldiers to the epicenters of the nation’s Ebola outbreak to enforce sweeping new quarantine measures as the virus’ global death toll rose to at least 932 people as of Wednesday. Liberia’s president ordered a 30-day state of emergency because of the Ebola outbreak late Wednesday, according to a radio broadcast.

Troops and police have been stationed outside of local clinics and family homes, the New York Times reports, amid reports of concerned family members trespassing into quarantined areas and coming into contact with sick patients and infected bodies. In Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, Reuters reports that relatives of Ebola victims have anonymously dumped infected bodies in the streets rather than face quarantines. Forces have also been deployed in Liberia to maintain order, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, health experts and epidemiologists convened Wednesday at the World Health Organization to begin a two-day discussion about containment measures and to ensure healthcare systems in West Africa are not overwhelmed by a rising tide of cases. Infections have continued to spread from remote precincts into more heavily populated areas, despite sweeping quarantine measures announced last week by Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea — the three most heavily-hit countries – including school closures and heavy surveillance of at-risk populations.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, reported a second Ebola death and five additional cases in Lagos on Wednesday, while Saudi Arabia announced that it was testing a man who reportedly died of Ebola-like symptoms after returning from a business trip to Sierra Leone. However, the cause of the man’s death remains unconfirmed, the BBC reports.


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