Sierra Leone has announced the whole country will be in "complete shutdown" later this month to contain the spread of the Ebola virus. The WHO says more than 2,000 have died in the epidemic across several African states.
A senior official from the president's office has confirmed that Sierra Leone will enforce a three-day "complete shutdown" across the country from September 19 in a bid to contain the Ebola epidemic.
The AFP news agency quoted government spokesman Abdulai Bayratay, who said the measure would be "strictly adhered to without exception."
Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, a presidential advisor on the Sierra Leone Ebola task force, also confirmed the move according to the Reuters news agency.
He said the strict measure would allow health workers to identify cases in the early stages of the illness.
"The aggressive approach is necessary to deal with the spread of Ebola once and for all," he told Reuters.
Kargbo also said 21,000 people would be recruited to enforce the three-day lockdown.
Nationwide response to Ebola crisis
Thousands of police officers and troops have already been deployed to enforce quarantine conditions Sierra Leone's worst-hit regions near the border with Guinea.
The move is part of wider, radical steps being taken by affected African nations more than six months into the worst Ebola outbreak on record.
The World Health Organization recently convened a meeting of experts in Geneva in response to the crisis, which shows no sign of easing.
The WHO said 2,097 people had died in affected West African states with around half of the deaths in Liberia.
On Friday, the UN made a fresh appeal to the international community for urgent help, despite global funding being pledged to West Africa since the outbreak began in March.
As the Ebola virus continued to spread in West Africa, a separate strain was identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week.
The WHO said 31 people had died in DR Congo from the virus, and that the cases in the East African country were not linked to those West African states already affected.
lw/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP)