62 doctors and 103 nurses from Cuba arrive in Sierra Leone after more than two weeks of training with international experts at a Havana hospital specializing in tropical diseases. Another 296 Cuban doctors and nurses will go to Liberia and Guinea after training. Deputy Health Minister Madina Rahman:
We have 165 medical officers, qualified health professionals that are here to help us in the fight against Ebola. As we know we need as much healthcare and professionals as possible. This will make a dent in the fight, we need more if we can get more
The restriction is imposed in the eastern town of Koidu after a dispute between youth and police over a suspected case of Ebola degenerated into gunfire and rioting. A local civil society leader says he has seen at least two bodies with gunshot wounds, while the head of the local police unit says youth had fired at officers with shotguns but denies anyone has been shot dead. The police unit commander says rioting began when a former youth leader refused health authorities permission to take her 90-year old grandmother for an Ebola test.
The National Ebola Response Center (NERC) says 49 confirmed cases emerged in a single day Monday in two Ebola zones in and around the capital, while lawmaker Claude Kamanda, who represents a western area, says more than 20 deaths are being reported daily. The uncontrolled movement of people from the interior to Waterloo, which is the gateway to the capital Freetown, has fueled the increase of cases in the west. There is a strong feeling that people are violating quarantines elsewhere and coming to Freetown through Waterloo. There are 851 total confirmed Ebola cases in the two zones, called Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural.
The CEO of Sierra Leone’s Ebola Response Center says the country is ‘in a crisis situation which is going to get worse.’ Palo Conteh tells a press conference:
We need to go ahead to stop the transmission in order to arrest the situation. Our proud country has faced so many challenges, but none more serious than today. Today we have a new and vicious enemy, an enemy that does not wear uniform, that … attacks anyone that comes into contact with (it) and if unchecked will ravage our beautiful land and its fine people.
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres says the death toll in Sierra Leone may be much higher than the WHO’s revised total of 4,951 from 13,567 reported cases. MSF coordinator:
The situation is catastrophic. There are several villages and communities that have been basically wiped out. In one of the villages I went to, there were 40 inhabitants and 39 died. The WHO says there is a correction factor of 2.5, so maybe it is 2.5 times higher and maybe that is not far from the truth. It could be 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000.
Tam-Baryoh is jailed in Freetown’s Pademba Road prison under emergency powers in an executive order from the president. Jail superintendant:
The powers were derived from the Ebola emergency regulations the country is currently under
The charges against him and the length of his detention aren’t specified. The arrest may be linked to comments Tam-Baryoh made on his radio show MONOLGUE, in which he appeared to challenge arrests made last week in the Kono district after Ebola-linked riots. The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists condemns the arrest.
Aid groups say thousands of people in Sierra Leone are being forced to break quarantine to find food as food prices in quarantined areas have risen beyond affordability. Disasters Emergency Committee:
The quarantine of Kenema, the third largest town in Sierra Leone, is having a devastating impact on trade — travel is restricted so trucks carrying food cannot freely drive around. Food is becoming scarce, which has led to prices increasing beyond the reach of ordinary people.
The World Food Program fed more than 450,000 people in Sierra Leone in October, including people who are under quarantine or being treated for Ebola, but distribution of food has been difficult since it has required bringing food to remote areas by poor roads.
Sierra Leone bans holiday celebrations amidst its continued fight against Ebola. Palo Conteh, head of the government’s Ebola response unit:
[There will be] no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year. We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola. Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any street celebrations.
International donors pledge $3.4 billion for a total of $5.2 billion to help rebuild Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone following the Ebola epidemic. The U.N. will follow up to ensure the delivery of the money. New pledges include $745 million from the African Development Bank, $495 million from the European Union, $360 million from the Islamic Development Bank, $340 million from Britain, and $266 million from the United States. Liberian President Sirleaf says funds will revive the economies and societies of affected areas.
The world as a whole has a great stake in how we together respond to this global thread. Virus diseases, just like terrorism, know no national boundaries.
The country’s government orders people to stay at home after flooding kills four people and damages parts of the capital. Those close to the coast and on hill tops have been asked to move to a safer place as heavy rains are forecast for the next six days. An unknown number of people have been injured and the authorities say they are deploying extra health staff. All operations in the country’s main referral hospital have been cancelled because the theater has been flooded. Emergency accommodation for the homeless has been set up at the national football stadium. The government has requested everyone except schoolchildren taking exams and essential workers to stay at home, although the order is being widely disregarded.