Sierra Leone VP puts self in quarantine


Sam Sumana

FREETOWN. — Sierra Leone’s vice president has put himself in quarantine following the death from Ebola of one of his security guards.
Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana is set to become acting president when President Ernest Bai Koroma leaves Sierra Leone to attend a European Union conference on Ebola in Belgium.

Sam-Sumana will carry out his duties as president from his home.

He is the highest ranking African official to be in quarantine in this Ebola outbreak, which is fast approaching a death toll of 10 000.

Sam-Sumana voluntarily decided to quarantine himself for 21 days following the death from Ebola last Tuesday of one of his security personnel, according to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation.

Sam-Sumana called on all those who have been in contact with the dead man to also put themselves in quarantine, said the report.

“The Vice President opted to quarantine himself because he wants to lead by example,” Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Theo Nicol told the Associated Press.

Sam-Sumana’s dramatic quarantine comes as Sierra Leone is experiencing a rise in new Ebola cases which prompted President Ernest Bai Koroma to reinstate restrictions on Saturday.

Sierra Leone recorded 18 new cases of Ebola in the week ending Saturday, up from 16 new cases last week. This breaks the trend of declining cases in Sierra Leone. Many of the new clusters of cases are related to the capital’s fishing industry.

The measures re-imposed include a night-time ban on all boats launching from shore and from commercial vehicles off-loading goods in western market areas. Naval vessels will patrol the shore and wharves.

In addition there will be restrictions on ferries and health checkpoints by the police will be strengthened. Public transportation will be reinstated which limit the numbers of passengers in taxis to two in cars and four at the back of large taxi vans to reduce physical contact between passengers. — AP.