Ebola toll hits 729 as Sierra Leone declares emergency

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In Nigeria
Aug 1st, 2014
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Among the deaths this week from Ebola is that of the chief doctor treating the disease in Sierra Leone.

The government said Dr Sheik Humarr Khan’s death was “an irreparable loss of this son of the soil”. The 39-year-old was a leading doctor on hemorrhagic fevers in a nation with very few medical resources. His remains were buried yesterday.

Ebola cases first emerged in Guinea back in March, and later spread across the borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma  has declared a public health emergency to curb the deadly Ebola outbreak.

He said the epicentres of the outbreak in the east would be quarantined and asked the security forces to enforce the measures.

As part of the new measures to contain the viral haemorrhagic fever, travellers at airports will have to wash their hands with disinfectant and have their temperatures checked, President Koroma said in a statement.

All deaths must also be reported to the authorities before burial, he said.

His measures – to remain in place for between 60 and 90 days – follow tough anti-Ebola policies introduced this week in neighbouring Liberia, where schools have been closed and some communities are to be quarantined.

Both President Koroma and his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have cancelled visits to Washington for the US-Africa summit next week because of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is to begin screening all passengers arriving from West Africa and Kenya has stepped up surveillance at all ports of entry.

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said ground and on-board staff would have also been sensitised on how to handle suspected cases of the virus.

Also, the head of the World Health Organization and leaders of West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak are offering a joint $100m (£59m; 75m euro) response plan.

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