Sierra Leone imposes Ebola curfew for northern districts

A suspected Ebola patient lies inside a quarantine zone in a Red Cross facility in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone is introducing new curfews for two northern districts after a spike in new Ebola cases to the highest level in months, President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Friday.

The 18-month-long Ebola epidemic has killed more than 11,100 people in West Africa, although weekly numbers of new cases have fallen sharply from last year's peaks. One of the three worst-affected countries, Liberia, was declared Ebola-free in May.

Sierra Leone and Guinea, however, are still regularly reporting several new cases daily, prompting both to extend emergency measures.

"I have instructed the security to institute chiefdom-level curfew and restriction on movement from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Kambia and Port Loko districts, with immediate effect," Koroma said in a televised address.

Offenders will be detained and prosecuted if they violate the new measures, which will be in effect for the next 21 days. The two districts lie on the route between the capital Freetown and the Guinea border and have been the focus of recent cases.

Health workers say access is difficult in the maze of islands and creeks in the region, where dirt paths are often flooded in the current wet season.

Some residents are not complying with anti-Ebola measures and more than a dozen Ebola contacts have escaped quarantine, according to a report by the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) in May.

"There will be night patrols, so the idea is to stop people from escaping using vehicles. If they run away on foot they can only get so far," said OB Sisay, a NERC official involved in "Operation Northern Push" for Port Loko and Kambia.

Oxfam's country director Thynn Thynn Hlaing warned that the new measures would only work if residents were involved in designing and implementing them.

There have also been breaches of anti-Ebola regulations in the capital. A member of parliament, Alie Badara Munu, was arrested for participating in a traditional burial in May.

Washing rituals for the dead can spread the virus, contained within body fluids such as blood and sweat.

Sierra Leone reported seven confirmed cases on June 9, the highest count since March 24, according to the NERC.

But in many other districts of the small agricultural country of 6 million people, there are no more Ebola patients. Koroma said in his speech that restrictions on business opening hours would be eased in these areas.

(Reporting by Kemo Cham; additional reporting and writing by Emma Farge and Makini Brice; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.
  • Homeland Security official reassigned after intelligence reports on journalists covering protests
    The Independent

    Homeland Security official reassigned after intelligence reports on journalists covering protests

    A US intelligence official with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been reassigned following revelations that his office compiled "intelligence reports" on journalists and analysed communications between protesters amid ongoing demonstrations in Portland, Oregon. Brian Murphy was removed from his post following a report in The Washington Post revealing that the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis sent open source intelligence reports to federal law enforcement agencies containing information from two reporters who had published leaked unclassified government documents while covering Black Lives Matter protests.

  • TikTok teens are making memes saying they'll show up at the White House to confront Trump over app ban
    INSIDER

    TikTok teens are making memes saying they'll show up at the White House to confront Trump over app ban

    TikTok President Donald Trump on Friday told reporters he would take action to ban popular app TikTok as early as Saturday. Trump over the past month has joined other US officials in expressing security concerns over the app's Chinese ownership and suggested the service is sharing user data with the Chinese government, though the app's owner has denied doing so. While some TikTok creators encouraged their fans to follow them on their other social media accounts, others made memes or plans to set up a virtual private network so they could still use the app after a ban.

  • Egypt tells Elon Musk its pyramids were not built by aliens
    BBC

    Egypt tells Elon Musk its pyramids were not built by aliens

    Egypt has invited billionaire Elon Musk to visit the country and see for himself that its famous pyramids were not built by aliens. The SpaceX boss had tweeted what appeared to be support for conspiracy theorists who say aliens were involved in the colossal construction effort. The tombs discovered in the 1990s are definitive evidence, experts say, that the magnificent structures were indeed built by ancient Egyptians.

  • Isaias strengthens slightly as it pushes toward East Coast
    CBS News

    Isaias strengthens slightly as it pushes toward East Coast

    Isaias remained a tropical storm after regaining some strength Sunday as it pushed toward the southeast Florida coast. Heavy rain and flooding are expected along the East Coast as the storm could restrengthen into a hurricane as it makes its way north, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of 5 p.m. ET Sunday, Isaias was located about 65 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and was moving north-northwest at 9 mph. While still classified as a tropical storm, Isaias strengthened slightly throughout the day, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

  • The world's airlines say they won't recover until 2024, reflecting a new wave of pessimism as the pandemic rages on
    Business Insider

    The world's airlines say they won't recover until 2024, reflecting a new wave of pessimism as the pandemic rages on

    Reuters The International Air Transport Association, which represents most of the world's major airlines, said it does not expect the airline industry to recover from the coronavirus pandemic until 2024. The timeline, along with recent comments from airline executives, reflects a new level of public pessimism about when business will return to normal. Industry analysts offered that timeline as early as April, when airlines were painting a rosier picture.

  • Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concerns
    Associated Press

    Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concerns

    Sturgis is on. The message has been broadcast across social media as South Dakota, which has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, braces to host hundreds of thousands of bikers for the 80th edition of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns.

  • Airbnb cracks down on New Jersey 'party houses' as COVID-19 spreads among young people
    USA TODAY

    Airbnb cracks down on New Jersey 'party houses' as COVID-19 spreads among young people

    Thirty-five Airbnb listings across New Jersey were suspended or removed from the website following complaints of house parties that flout restrictions on gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the suspensions announced Friday came directly from complaints of neighbors, who called into Airbnb's 24/7 Neighborhood Support Hotline, the company said. The “vast majority” of Airbnb hosts “take important steps to prevent unauthorized parties,” the company said.

  • GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert's daughter publicly chides him for ignoring 'medical experts,' getting COVID-19
    The Week

    GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert's daughter publicly chides him for ignoring 'medical experts,' getting COVID-19

    Rep. Louie Gohmert's (R-Texas) daughter Caroline is disappointed her father "ignored medical expertise" and didn't wear a mask, and now has COVID-19, she said in a brief statement Sunday night. Please please listen to medical experts. Caroline Gohmert, who records music under the stage name BELLSAINT, may love her father but she revealed last year that she does not agree with him politically.

  • Mass arrest of dissidents threatens to derail Nobel Peace Prize-winning PM's reform
    The Telegraph

    Mass arrest of dissidents threatens to derail Nobel Peace Prize-winning PM's reform

    Then in 2019, Abiy won the Nobel peace prize for ending two decades of conflict with Eritrea, which had left around 80,000 people dead. However, despite rapid liberal reforms, Ethiopia's government is struggling to contain a series of ethnic horrific clashes, which are destabilising large parts of the country. Over the last few years, there have been alarming reports of abuses by state security forces in Ethiopia's Oromia region.

  • UK lobbies US to support controversial new nuclear warheads
    The Guardian

    UK lobbies US to support controversial new nuclear warheads

    The UK has been lobbying the US Congress in support of a controversial new warhead for Trident missiles, claiming it is critical for “the future of Nato as a nuclear alliance”. A letter from Britain's defence secretary, Ben Wallace, seen by the Guardian, urged Congress to support initial spending on the warhead, the W93. The letter, sent in April but not previously reported, draws the UK into a US political debate, pitting the Trump administration against many Democrats and arms control groups over whether the the $14bn W93 programme is necessary.

  • A Chicago Dunkin' worker was arrested after allegedly spitting in a state trooper's coffee
    INSIDER

    A Chicago Dunkin' worker was arrested after allegedly spitting in a state trooper's coffee

    AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki A worker at a Chicago Dunkin' was arrested on Saturday after allegedly spitting in a state trooper's coffee. According to state police, the trooper ordered a large black coffee on Thursday night, and removed the lid since the beverage was hot. "The Trooper observed a large, thick piece of mucus which was later confirmed to be saliva, floating inside it," state police told NBC News.

  • Staples customer who told woman to wear mask is thrown to ground, has broken leg
    NBC News

    Staples customer who told woman to wear mask is thrown to ground, has broken leg

    A 54-year-old New Jersey woman suffered a broken leg after she was thrown to the ground in a Staples by another customer whom she had told to wear a mask, authorities said. Police have released surveillance video from the incident that occurred at about 3:19 p.m. Wednesday at a Staples in Hackensack. Margot Kagan, of Teaneck, told police she was using a fax machine at the store when a woman with a mask pulled down below her mouth approached a machine next to her.

  • Transcript: Mark Meadows on "Face the Nation"
    CBS News

    Transcript: Mark Meadows on "Face the Nation"

    So I think it's important for your viewers to understand that if- if you have unemployed people that have lost their enhanced unemployment, they need to call their Democrat senators and House members because they're the ones that are standing in the way of having those extended right now. JOHN DICKERSON: But there was also obviously considerable debate among Republicans on the size of that benefit that made some people think the Republicans couldn't even get a majority of their own votes. But let's talk about the sticking points now.

  • 4 doctors in states seeing a resurgence of coronavirus cases say more young people are getting sick, and blame 'pandemic fatigue' for the uptick
    Business Insider

    4 doctors in states seeing a resurgence of coronavirus cases say more young people are getting sick, and blame 'pandemic fatigue' for the uptick

    Multiple US states have found a resurgence in coronavirus cases after reopening. Insider recently spoke to four doctors in Houston, Chicago and south Florida — all of which have recorded high daily coronavirus cases in recent weeks. The Florida doctor said his state should have imposed a mask mandate early on in the pandemic, but that it would be too late now.

  • Connie Culp, 1st US partial face transplant recipient, dies
    Yahoo News Video

    Connie Culp, 1st US partial face transplant recipient, dies

    Connie Culp, the recipient of the first partial face transplant in the U.S., has died at 57, almost a dozen years after the groundbreaking operation.

  • Florida man once bitten by alligator is chomped by 8-foot shark while on vacation
    USA TODAY

    Florida man once bitten by alligator is chomped by 8-foot shark while on vacation

    Justin Stuller was looking forward to relaxing in the Florida Keys — fishing, lobstering and swimming with his wife, kids, extended family and friends. Stuller, 38, now sports two dozen stitches and a small limp after he tangled with an eight-foot lemon shark Wednesday. Stuller said he has encountered sharks before on similar trips.

  • Expect 'lengthy' coronavirus pandemic, warns WHO
    AFP

    Expect 'lengthy' coronavirus pandemic, warns WHO

    The World Health Organization on Saturday warned the coronavirus pandemic was likely to be "lengthy" after its emergency committee met to evaluate the crisis six months after sounding the international alarm. The committee "highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic", the WHO said in a statement, and warned of the risk of "response fatigue" given the socio-economic pressures on countries. The panel gathered Friday for the fourth time over the coronavirus crisis, half a year on from its January 30 declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) -- the WHO's highest level of alarm.

  • Leading Democratic VP contender Bass defends stance on Cuba
    Associated Press

    Leading Democratic VP contender Bass defends stance on Cuba

    Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden's running mate, on Sunday defended her past travel to Cuba and the sympathetic comments she made after the death of Fidel Castro, the dictator who ruled the communist country for decades. Bass said she was trying to express her condolences to the Cuban people when she referred to Castro as “Comandante en jefe,” a term that roughly translates as commander in chief but is reviled by some Cuban exiles in Florida. Bass, who represents California in Congress, said she was unaware of the phrase's political significance in Florida when she issued the 2016 statement, which called Castro's death a “great loss to the people of Cuba.”

  • Manchester-born 'wellness entrepreneur' revealed as Jeffrey Epstein's alleged ex-girlfriend
    The Telegraph

    Manchester-born 'wellness entrepreneur' revealed as Jeffrey Epstein's alleged ex-girlfriend

    A Manchester-born publisher has been identified as the alleged former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein named in legal papers relating to Ghislaine Maxwell that were unsealed by a Manhattan court last week. A woman named as “Shelley” was allegedly named by Ms Maxwell as Epstein's girlfriend between 1999 and 2002, according to an email contained in papers released by US District Judge Loretta Preska. It has now been claimed that the woman is Shelley Ann Lewis, 43, a “wellness entrepreneur”, who runs a company called The Equanimity Expert.

  • Crashed plane packed with cocaine was bound for Australia, police say
    BBC

    Crashed plane packed with cocaine was bound for Australia, police say

    Police say a small plane that crashed shortly after take-off in Papua New Guinea had been overloaded with cocaine destined for the Australian market. In a statement, Australian police said the gang had been under surveillance for two years. The light plane had taken off from Mareeba in North Queensland on Sunday and flew at a low altitude to avoid radar detection before landing at a remote airfield at Papa Lea Lea, north of Port Moresby.

  • Southern California wildfire forces thousands to evacuate
    NBC News

    Southern California wildfire forces thousands to evacuate

    A wildfire in Southern California quickly spread across 12,000 acres Saturday, destroying at least one home and two structures and forcing 7,800 people to evacuate. The Apple fire in Riverside County, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, was being fought by 375 firefighters with dozens of fire engines and air support. As it moved north into San Bernardino County, evacuation orders were issued for two areas, Potato Canyon and Oak Glen, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

  • ‘The Swamp’ Exposes Just How Much Republican Matt Gaetz Kisses Trump’s Butt
    The Daily Beast

    ‘The Swamp’ Exposes Just How Much Republican Matt Gaetz Kisses Trump’s Butt

    Spoiler alert: Contrary to his stated intentions, President Donald Trump has not “drained the swamp,” but has in fact amplified D.C. corruption and special-interest power—currently, more than 300 lobbyists have seats in his administration—unseen in modern times. The Swamp understands and exposes this fact, and yet Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme's HBO documentary (premiering August 4) nonetheless tackles the issue of politics and money via a decidedly wishy-washy look at three of Trump's staunchest faux-“renegade” GOP congressional acolytes: Colorado's Ken Buck, Kentucky's Thomas Massie and Florida's perpetually sycophantic Matt Gaetz. It's Gaetz who'll likely be best known to viewers, thanks to a series of headline-making (and social media-inflaming) stunts, including tweeting out a not-so-veiled threat to congressional witness (and former Trump attorney) Michael Cohen, and leading a group of rabble-rousing Republicans on a raid of a closed-door impeachment hearing deposition.

  • An Arizona congressman who tested positive for the coronavirus criticized Republican lawmakers for refusing to wear masks in the Capitol
    Business Insider

    An Arizona congressman who tested positive for the coronavirus criticized Republican lawmakers for refusing to wear masks in the Capitol

    Bonnie Cash/Pool via Reuters An Arizona congressman who tested positive for the coronavirus condemned Republican lawmakers for not wearing face masks in the Capitol. Democrat Rep. Raúl Grijalva tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday but is currently asymptomatic and "feeling fine," according to a spokesperson. Grijalva self-isolated out of pre-caution after attending a hearing with Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has frequently not worn a face mask on the floor and tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

  • A Black Lives Matter mural is set to be removed in Tulsa after the city received a request for a pro-police painting
    INSIDER

    A Black Lives Matter mural is set to be removed in Tulsa after the city received a request for a pro-police painting

    Tulsa City Council decided to remove the Black Lives Matter painting located in the Greenwood District after the mural was not granted city approval. Tulsa World reported that the painter and organizer of the mural, Ryan Rhoades, did not get city approval for the street painting. "I was like, with us having Black Wall Street here and Juneteenth and Trump coming to town, we just seem like the most likely city to do this next."

  • What we know about schoolkids and coronavirus
    The Week

    What we know about schoolkids and coronavirus

    A study published in Nature in June found that children and teenagers were about half as likely as adults to get infected by the virus. "It seems, consistently, children do have lower rates of infection than adults," said Alison Tribble, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of Michigan. Some doctors, however, believe pediatric infections are significantly undercounted because they're often asymptomatic.