Sierra Leone Declares Health Emergency Over Ebola

Thursday, July 31, 2014
By Paul Martin

By ADAM NOSSITER and ALAN COWELL
NYTimes.com
JULY 31, 2014

ABUJA, Nigeria — As alarm spread over the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, one of the three main countries battling the worst known outbreak of the disease, has declared a public health emergency that calls for the deployment of security forces to quarantine epicenters of infection. He also said he was canceling a planned visit to the United States.

In an address to the nation posted late Wednesday on the presidential website, Mr. Koroma said the emergency would “enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak.”

Mr. Koroma said he had been planning to attend a United States-Africa summit meeting in Washington, but would instead go on Friday to Guinea to discuss a regional response to the outbreak. The other two countries accounting for many of the 672 killed by the disease in recent weeks are Liberia and Guinea.

In the address, Mr. Koroma said security forces would be deployed to support health professionals and that “all epicenters of the disease will be quarantined” along with “localities and homes where the disease is identified.”

Public meetings will be restricted, houses will be searched for infected people, Parliament will be recalled and top officials will be obliged to cancel all but essential overseas travel.

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