Ebola burial team attacked in Sierra Leone

Sunday, September 21, 2014
By Paul Martin

Aljazeera.com
21 Sep 2014

A team of health workers trying to bury Ebola victims has come under attack in Sierra Leone, as the country struggled through the second day of a nationwide curfew to help combat the virus.

Police were called on Saturday to help the team in the village of Matainkay, 20km east of the capital Freetown. A witness told state television that the burial team initially had to abandon five bodies and flee.

A local police commander told the Reuters news agency that “some youths attempted to disrupt the burial”.

Since the curfew came into effect on Friday, most of Sierra Leone’s six million people have been confined to their homes. Only essential workers, such as health professionals and security forces, are exempt.

However critics say that the measures could cause people to go to extra lengths to conceal those infected.

The charity group Doctors Without Borders said it would be “extremely difficult for health workers to accurately identify cases through door-to-door screening”.

The group said that Sierra Leone did not have enough beds even if suspected cases were identified during the curfew.

Neighbouring Liberia had temporary placed quarantine measures and curfews last month, but lifted them after street protests.

The World Health Organisation says the virus has killed more than 560 people in Sierra Leone and more than 2,600 in West Africa since the outbreak began in December.

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