To Fight Ebola, Sierra Leone Set for 'Lockdown'

Locals barred from going out for 3 days
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2014 4:32 PM CDT
To Fight Ebola, Sierra Leone Set for 'Lockdown'
In this photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, nurses gather outside the Faculty of Nursing, College of Medicine, and Allied Health Services in Freetown, Sierra Leone.   (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)

After hundreds of deaths in the country due to Ebola, Sierra Leone is heading for a lockdown. That means that for at least three days, starting Sept. 19, locals won't be able to leave the vicinity of their homes, Reuters reports. The goal is to spot people in the early stages of the disease and prevent its further spread, a presidential advisor tells Reuters. "We believe this the best way, for now, to identify those who are sick and remove them from those who are well," notes the country's information minister, per CNN.

But some experts doubt that such a measure will be helpful, CNN reports; it might have the opposite effect. Doctors Without Borders points to dangerous potential consequences: "It has been our experience that lockdowns and quarantines do not help control Ebola, as they end up driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers," the group says. "This leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further." (Read more Sierra Leone stories.)

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