In Sierra Leone the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) has told journalists that another three-days nation-wide shutdown will be conducted from March 27th to 29th. The exercise will be a repeat of the one that was done in September last year and according to the NERC CEO Major (rtd) Palo Conteh, the government and its partners are hopeful the shutdown will bring out latent cases that are not being reported or recorded.
Palo Conteh said the 3-days shut down will be both to re-sensitise on precautions as well as detect possible lines of transmission of the virus. Residents will be expected to stay at home throughout the three days exercise.
The last 3 days shutdown was proven to be very effective at highlighting the extent of the crisis. Sierra Leone has been recording haphazard number of cases. On some days, it will record single digits and then on other days, a sudden spike will be recorded in areas previously considered as virus-free. This is especially so for the North and West of the country.
Until the cases are down to zero for 21 continuous days, the country cannot be considered to be on any footing to start the journey towards being declared Ebola free. Liberia has now gone for ten continuous days without a single Ebola case. However, Guinea is also in the same straits as Sierra Leone with spikes and surges in numbers of cases.