FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone imposed a quarantine in a fishing district of the capital city, Freetown, after at least five new Ebola cases were confirmed there, an official said Saturday.
The measure, imposed Friday, affects the coastal district of Aberdeen, which contains both upscale hotels and informal settlements, said OB Sisay, director of the Situation Room at the National Ebola Response Center. At least some of the new cases included fishermen who had gone out in a boat but returned complaining of stomach pains and were sent to a hospital for tests.
A control center has been established in the area, and contact tracing and surveillance officers have been deployed, Sisay said.
Sierra Leone has seen nearly 11,000 confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases during the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the most of any country, according to the World Health Organization. Despite a drop in cases, transmission in Sierra Leone remains widespread, with 76 new cases confirmed in the previous week, WHO said Wednesday .
The continued cases and quarantine are further evidence that getting to zero cases will be “a bumpy ride,” Sisay said.
“The number goes down one day and the next it goes up. There are some people who are celebrating when the number of cases goes down, and these people think it is the end of Ebola,” he said.
In September, when Ebola was still raging in West Africa, Sierra Leone imposed a sweeping three-day nationwide lockdown to battle the deadly disease.
Wednesday’s update from WHO also reported “a sharp increase” of cases in Guinea – 65 compared to 39 the previous week.
Liberia, meanwhile, reported only three new cases. The United States announced Tuesday that it was preparing to withdraw nearly all of its troops fighting Ebola in West Africa, leaving just 100 in Liberia to continue working with the country’s military, regional partners and U.S. civilians.
The United Nations children’s agency said Friday that plans were still in place to begin re-opening Liberia’s schools next week after seven months of closures caused by Ebola.