Ebola Crisis: Sierra Leone Bans Christmas Celebrations

Sierra LeoneSierra Leone has banned public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year, because of the Ebola crisis.

Soldiers are to be deployed on the streets throughout the festive period to keep people indoors.

The Minister of Defence, who heads the government’s Ebola Response Unit, Palo Conteh, made the declaration on Friday.

He said that there would be “no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year. We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola.

“Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any street celebrations.”

President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has also told traditional leaders to stop traditional practices as part of efforts to end Ebola in the country.

The President added that despite international aid, it seemed “as if the cases are increasing”, especially in north-western areas such as Port Loko and the Bombali region.

UN Envoy Says Ebola Fight Is a ‘War’

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David Banarro says cancellation of flights to countries with Ebola crisis is hampering efforts.

A United Nation’s envoy appointed to coordinate the global response to the Ebola crisis said Monday that the fight against the epidemic was a “war” which could take another six months, and warned that airlines boycotting the region were hampering the response.

David Nabarro, a British physician that the United Nations has appointed to coordinate the global response to the crisis, was in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown for the fifth day of a tour of the region.

“The effort to defeat Ebola is not a battle but a war which requires everybody working together, hard and effectively,” he told a news conference.

“I hope it will be done in six months but we have to do it until it is completed.”

“A Whole Lot Harder”

Nabarro said airlines halting flights to and from the countries that have been afflicted by the outbreak in West Africa were making the UN’s efforts “a whole lot harder”.

“By isolating the country, it makes it difficult for the UN to do its work,” he said.

Instead, he issued a “really strong request to everyone to help us find a way to continue having airlines fly into these capitals so that we can do our job properly”.

“Help us to know how we can do this and at the same time assure you that you are not exposed to risk,” he added.

UN officials have pledged to step up efforts against the lethal tropical virus, which has infected more than 2,600 and killed 1,427 in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria this year.