Last Cuban Ebola Medics Leave Sierra Leone, New Clampdown for Easter

Last Cuban Ebola Medics Leave Sierra Leone, New Clampdown for Easter

File Photo: A health care worker inside an Ebola clinic. (AP Photo)


The last remaining Cuban medics sent to Sierra Leone in October last year to help in the fight against Ebola left the country on Wednesday, as the number of infections there is falling.

But President Ernest Bai Koroma announced new restrictions on movement for the upcoming Easter weekend to prevent a resurgence of the deadly virus.

The move comes after Sierra Leone's population of more than six million had been confined to their homes in a three-day nationwide lockdown that lasted from Friday to Monday.

The new measures "include a ban on meeting and on commercial activities from 6.00 pm on Saturday, April 4 and all day on Sunday, April 5," the president said.

The 66 remaining Cuban medics who answered a call from the World Health Organization to come to Sierra Leone as Ebola raged six months ago left on Wednesday, saying they believed the country was well on the way to defeating the virus.

The head of the Cuban delegation, Doctor Jorge Delgado Butillo, told AFP by telephone his staff had "helped to save the life of a great number of people infected with Ebola".

"We are delighted that Sierra Leone is showing signs of victory," he said.

A total of 256 Cuban medics had been mobilised in the three countries worst hit by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Sierra Leone's National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) said during the three-day nationwide clampdown, 263 sick people were evacuated from their homes of which 10 were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.

The latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures published on Wednesday showed that the number of new Ebola infections in Sierra Leone fell for the fourth consecutive week.

The 25 new cases of infections in the week of March 23-29 was the lowest since May 2014.

However, Guinea saw a rise in cases of infection from 45 in the preceding week to 57 in the week of March 23-29.

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