Sierra Leone began a three-day national curfew Friday to allow health workers to locate and isolate Ebola cases, the BBC reported. Citizens will be confined to their homes through Sunday while some 21,000 health workers go door-to-door to distribute soap, identify people who may be infected and spread awareness about the deadly disease that has killed some 2,500 people across West Africa.
The government of Sierra Leone has deployed thousands of police and soldiers to quarantine districts near the border with Guinea. As of Sept. 13 in Sierra Leone, 562 people have died from Ebola. Over 1,000 other cases have been identified, most of which were recorded during the previous three weeks. “We need to restrict movement for us all to avoid body contact,” government spokesman Abdulai Baratay said, according to The Hindu.
Critics, however, say the move will only work to foster distrust of the government, as was the case in Liberia where isolating communities sparked days of riots that led to at least one death. "What you don't want to do is actions that make the population lose more trust in you," David Heymann, who was part of the team that first identified the Ebola virus in 1976 near the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola river, told The Guardian. "Trying to cordon off an area isn't rational unless you can enforce it 100 percent. It's not dealing with the problem the way we know how to do it."
In neighboring Guinea, the bodies of eight missing health workers and journalists have been found. The group was attacked Tuesday while distributing information about Ebola in a village near the city of Nzerkore, according to Reuters. The attackers reportedly believed the health workers were spreading the virus.