Aid agencies have hit out at plans for a nationwide lockdown in Sierra Leone to try to stop the spread of Ebola.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says proposals to prevent people leaving their homes for three days from September 19 could see infections concealed and passed on to family members.
But ministers maintain that the shutdown will lead to new cases being isolated.
“MSF may be right in what they are saying, but they may be looking at the curative view, looking after the sick, they are care-givers. We are concerned about is the social mobilization. 0.02 percent of the population has been affected by this. We still have five million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand who have not been affected; these (people) are the emergency, these are the ones that we should keep safe.”
Many residents are worried about the loss of income during the shutdown, they’ve already seen their earnings dive due to health crisis.
But one market trader said she would welcome the holiday:
“If the government says ‘stay at home for three days’, then I am happy,” said Jeneba Kamara.
Nearly 500 people have died in Sierra Leone from Ebola, which along with Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, is struggling to deal with this latest outbreak.
Ministers have told residents to start preparing for the lockdown immediately, equating the latest crisis with country’s civil war.