TIME Infectious Disease

It’s Now Illegal to Hide Ebola Patients in Sierra Leone

SLEONE-HEALTH-EBOLA-WEST-AFRICA
A Sierra Leone government burial team with the coffin of Dr Modupeh Cole, Sierra Leone's second senior physician to die of Ebola, at the MSF facility in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, on Aug. 14, 2014. Carl De Souza—AFP/Getty Images

Perpetrators can get up to two-year prison sentences

In a move meant to help the country more effectively combat a deadly Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone approved a measure Friday that would impose jail time on anyone caught hiding someone infected with the virus.

The law, an amendment to the country’s 1960 Public Health Act, imposes prison sentences of up to two years for violators, the Associated Press reports.

Sierra Leone has recorded at least 910 cases and 392 deaths as part of the current outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. Many cases, however, go unrecorded when families hide patients out of fear of high fatality rates and the stigma that comes with a positive diagnosis.

[AP]

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