After recording no new cases since May, Freetown confirmed that two local patients have contracted the deadly Ebola virus. Health officials imposed a curfew in the border cities where the outbreak may have originated.
Two new cases of Ebola were confirmed in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown on Tuesday, following several weeks without any new infections, emphasizing the challenge facing the region in completely eradicating the outbreak.
The National Ebola Response Center (NERC) announced that it thought the two new cases came to the capital from northwestern towns near the border with Guinea, an area of the country still reeling from last year's unprecedented spread of the disease in West Africa.
In an effort to contain the deadly virus, NERC has ordered a 6 pm to 6 am curfew in the border towns of Port Loko and Kambia.
"We must maintain zero cases ... until the last person is out of the treatment center," NERC director Paulo Conteh told the press.
NERC spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis said the two new cases are particularly worrying as they come from a thickly populated slum in Freetown that is not equipped with adequate hygiene facilities.
Nearly 27,341 people have been infected with Ebola since the disease broke out in Guinea in December 2013, and more than 11,000 have been killed by the hemorrhagic fever according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Sierra Leone, of the around 13,000 who have been infected, more than 3,900 have died.
es/bw (dpa, Reuters)