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Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone imposes mandatory lockdown

In an attempt to contain the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone has declared lockdown of at least three days in the north of the country.

Shops, markets and non-Ebola related travel services will be shut down, officials said.

Sierra Leone has already banned many public Christmas celebrations.

More than 7,500 people have died from the outbreak in West Africa so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) says, with Sierra Leone the worst hit.

Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa, with more than 9,000 cases and more than 2,400 deaths since the start of the outbreak.Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown

The other countries at the centre of the outbreak are Liberia and Guinea.

Alie Kamara, resident minister for the Northern Region, told AFP news agency that most public gatherings would be cancelled.

“Muslims and Christians are not allowed to hold services in mosques and churches throughout the lockdown except for Christians on Christmas Day,” he said.

No unauthorized vehicles would be allowed to operate “except those officially assigned to Ebola-related assignments” he added.

The lockdown would operate for at least three days but this could be extended if deemed necessary, officials said.

Sierra Leone has been in a state of emergency since July.

The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in 2013, but only gained international attention in early 2014.

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