Home > News > World
Tuesday July 29, 2014 MYT 6:36:32 AM
Tuesday July 29, 2014 MYT 6:37:54 AM
FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone's president visited the centre of an Ebola outbreak on Monday as West African leaders stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
It was Ernest Bai Koroma's first visit to the northeastern district of Kenema since the start of the epidemic that has killed some 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it the worst outbreak yet.
Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases, at 525, surpassing neighbouring Guinea where the virus was first reported in February. A Liberian man died of the disease in Nigeria last week.
The president headed to Kenema by helicopter after a prayer session at the national stadium in the capital Freetown to mark the end of the Muslim month of fasting.
Koroma, a Christian, told the Muslim congregation that he planned to visit Sheik Umar Khan, the country's leading Ebola doctor who tested positive for the virus last week.
Khan is now a patient at an Ebola treatment centre run by the French charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kailahun.
However, Information Minister Alpha Kanu told Reuters that Koroma had been unable to reach Kailahun because of lack of fuel and had returned to Freetown after stopping in Kenema. The president would travel to Kailahun on Tuesday, Kanu said.
Several other medical staff have contracted the disease, including two American doctors working in Liberia.
Koroma said on Saturday the government planned to step up efforts to containing the disease with a view to ending the outbreak within 60 to 90 days.
The new strategy will focus on contact tracing, surveillance, communications and social mobilization, social services, logistics and supplies, he said.
(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Robin Pomeroy)
Sierra Leone president urges more WHO action on Ebola
Ebola surging in Sierra Leone amid lack of treatment centres - U.N
Ebola surging in Sierra Leone amid lack of treatment centres - U.N.
Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies in ambulance
Health workers strike at Sierra Leone Ebola hospital
Libya's official government aims to set up new payment system for oil buyers
Egypt receives 10 Apache helicopters from U.S. - sources
Italy's Renzi wins confidence vote to pass budget in Senate
Pope names new prelate who runs Vatican during papal transitions
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Looking out for your ears
Moscow hotel goes halal in bid to woo Muslim visitors
Ming dynasty treasures on display at a museum in Britain
Amazon's cloud business a harder sell in post-Snowden era
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)