Britain to set up Ebola centre in Sierra Leone

The number of Ebola infections could triple to 20,000 by November, the WHO warns (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza) (AFP/File)

London (AFP) - Britain is to set up a medical centre to treat victims of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, the international development secretary said on Monday.

The 62-bed centre near the capital Freetown is planned to be open in eight weeks' time and will be built and operated by military engineers and medical staff.

The worst-ever outbreak of the disease has killed 491 people in Sierra Leone, which is one of three countries at the centre of an epidemic that has claimed over 2,000 lives so far.

"The scale of the problem requires the entire international community to do more to assist the affected countries which is why the UK is working with the Government of Sierra Leone to build a new medical treatment facility near their capital Freetown," said international development secretary Justine Greening.

"When it is up and running it will enable the UK to provide medical care for local and international health workers, as well as treatment for the wider population."

In the long term charity Save the Children may manage the centre, which will have 12 beds dedicated for local and international medical volunteers, the government said.

A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone recovered from the disease after he was flown out of Africa by military plane and treated in a London hospital.

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