FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Police fired tear gas on Tuesday to disperse youths protesting Ebola restrictions that have halted market activity in Sierra Leone’s northern Kambia district, police said.
The restrictions were introduced after two Ebola cases emerged this month, and authorities searched for some people put under quarantine in the district, said Assistant Inspector General of Police Foday Daboh.
Three people were injured after demonstrators threatened to burn down a police station, said Daboh.
Some 50 people in the Northern Kambia district were quarantined, he said. About 150 people in several districts are under monitoring after the body of a 22-year-old woman tested positive for Ebola in mid-January. Relatives were allowed to hold a traditional funeral as authorities at the time didn’t suspect she had died from Ebola.
Officials on Jan. 21 announced a second case, saying a close relative of the woman, who was under quarantine, tested positive.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of victims, and corpses are especially contagious. Traditional funerals in the region where mourners touch the body were a major source of virus transmission during the epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in those West African countries.
The new cases in Sierra Leone have marked a major setback for the region, as virus transmission had previously appeared to have stopped. Even in announcing the apparent end of the outbreak, though, World Health Organization officials had warned that additional “flare-ups” of new cases were still possible.
Daboh said a high-powered government delegation, including the minister of health and sanitation and the government’s chief medical officer, are traveling to the Kambia district.
CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY, Associated Press
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