A Tough Week for Sierra Leone, But Hope Remains

Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumuna's office said Saturday that he has put himself under quarantine for 21 days, after one of his body guards was confirmed to have died from Ebola virus disease earlier this week.

The latest development came as Sierra Leone registered a rise in new cases as the nation races to control Ebola. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, the steep decline in cases nationally from December until the end of January has halted. A significant proportion of cases are still arising from unknown chains of transmission.

On Thursday, the government reintroduced a number of restrictions that had been lifted earlier this year.

A statement from President Ernest Bai Koroma's office ordered public transport operators to reduce capacity by 25 per cent to limit physical contact between passengers. The government also placed a night-time curfew on unloading goods from commercial vehicles and limited the movements of water transport.

The vice president said in a statement that his offices will remain closed while disinfection goes on. Staff and other members of his team will be closely monitored during this period.

"I have decided to be put under quarantine because I do not want to take chances and I want to lead by example," the vice president told Reuters. "I am very well and showing no signs of illness."

A government spokesman said Saturday, Sumana "has decided to place himself in precautionary quarantine awaiting the results of tests by the health authorities."

Chief Sam-Sumana has been Vice President of Sierra Leone since 2007, jointly elected twice with President Koroma.


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