A team burying victims of the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone’s capital was attacked on Saturday. But despite some defying the lockdown Freetown’s streets remain virtually deserted as the authorities and an army of 30,000 volunteers battle to contain the spread of the disease.
Despite the measures being taken new cases are still occurring, according to Stephen Gaojai, an Ebola Emergency Operational Controller.
“Overall reports coming in is that they are having a good number of people. This is not confirmed but in places like Portloko there were almost 22 cases who were positive and they were actually brought to the treatment centre in the police training school,” Gaojai said.
“People are cooperating”, said one of the volunteer team, “we have been working with people. We go to people. They listen to us. We make them sensitive about Ebola and they promise they will put the information in to practice”.
Elsewhere Saudi Arabia has introduced a new Ebola screening programme ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage next month that attracts millions of Muslims from all over the world, including West Africa.
Medical staff in protective clothing are checking all passengers arriving at the international airport in Jeddah. Travelers are also being asked to fill in a medical questionnaire and being given medicine when they get off planes.
Pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and and Guinea have been barred from attending this year’s Hajj.