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Sierra Leone declares 4 day Ebola 'lock down'

2nd lead


Sierra Leone has announced it will impose a four day Ebola 'lock down' in an effort to stem the spread of the virus across the West African state.

A curfew will take place September 18 to 21, government officials said Friday, aimed at allowing health workers to identify individuals with early stages of the infection.

A presidential spokesperson, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo told Reuters the curfew was necessary "to deal with the spread of Ebola once and for all".

Sierra Leone's 'lock down' has been criticised by Medecins Sans Frontiere (MSF), stating that it will "end up driving people underground and jeopardising the trust between people and health providers".

"This leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further," the medical aid agency added in a statement.

Last month clashes broke out between locals and the police in Liberia's capital Monrovia, after a quarantine was introduced.

International health experts met in Geneva this week to discuss efforts to mass produce and distribute experimental Ebola drugs.

The Ebola epidemic which has also taken hold in Nigeria and Liberia has claimed 2097 lives to date.

Last month the WHO declared the epidemic an international health emergency, calling for "a coordinated international response" and urging all affected states to declare a state of emergency.