Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown, ordering 6 million people to stay home

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 19, 2014 at 1:10 p.m.



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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Thousands of health care workers have been going house to house in the West African country of Sierra Leone today, searching for people sick with Ebola who may be hiding.

The government has ordered the country's population of 6 million to remain in their homes for the next three days, as the health care workers try to find and isolate those infected.

President Ernest Bai Koroma is pleading with his countrymen to cooperate, saying: "The survival and dignity of each and every Sierra Leonean is at stake."

Health officials say they plan to urge the sick to leave their homes and seek treatment. They have not said whether people would be forcibly removed, though authorities have warned that anyone on the streets during the lockdown without an emergency pass would be subject to arrest.

Most people seemed to be taking the order seriously, and there were no immediate reports of resistance.

More than 2,600 people have died in West Africa over the past nine months in the biggest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. More than 560 of those deaths have been in Sierra Leone.

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APPHOTO AMDF107: Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff) (19 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO AMDF107 (09/19/14)££

APPHOTO AMDF108: An empty local market area is seen at Waterloo, as the Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff) (19 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO AMDF108 (09/19/14)££

APPHOTO AMDF104: Empty streets are seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff) (19 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO AMDF104 (09/19/14)££

APPHOTO AMDF107: A World Health Organization, WHO, worker, right rear, trains nurses to use Ebola protective gear in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Shoppers crowded streets and markets in Sierra Leone's capital on Thursday stocking up for a three-day shutdown that authorities will hope will slow the spread of the Ebola outbreak that is accelerating across West Africa. (AP Photo/Michael Duff) (18 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO AMDF107 (09/18/14)££

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The Associated Press

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