Sierra Leone’s vice president has voluntarily quarantined himself after one of his security guards died from Ebola.
Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana on Sunday decided to put himself in quarantine for 21 days following the death of one of his security personnel last Tuesday.
It is the first time a high-ranking official is quarantined for fear of spreading the epidemic that according to the most recent figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) has claimed 9,600 lives in the world.
“This virus has affected thousands of our people and has nearly brought our country to its knees,” said Sam-Sumana in a statement, adding, “We all have a collective responsibility to break the chains of transmission by isolating the sick and reporting all known contacts, by not touching the dead…. We cannot be complacent. We must work together as a nation to end Ebola now.”
In reaction to the emergence of new cases of Ebola in recent weeks, Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, on Saturday reinstated travel restrictions he recently lifted in order to stimulate economic activity and relax citizens.
According to the WHO, 23,800 confirmed cases mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been reported since Ebola broke out 14 months ago.
Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Insuring safe burials of the highly infectious bodies of those who die from the virus has been a main concern in encountering the crisis.