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Sierra Leone Orders Lockdown to Combat Ebola, Experts Unconvinced

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Authorities are ordering people in Sierra Leone to stay inside their homes for three days later this month as part of an effort to stop the spread of Ebola, which has killed more than 2,000 people across West Africa, a government spokesman said Saturday. Abdulai Bayraytay said the government is telling people to stay inside their homes on Sept. 19, 20 and 21. The dates were chosen to give people enough time to stock up on food and other provisions, he said.

But some question whether the measure will help. Doctors Without Borders says it "will be extremely difficult for health workers to accurately identify cases through door-to-door screening." Even if suspected cases are identified during the lockdown, the group says Sierra Leone doesn't have enough beds for them.

"Without a place to take suspected cases — to screen and treat them — the approach cannot work," the group said Saturday. "It has been our experience that lockdowns and quarantines do not help control Ebola as they end up driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers. This leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further." Ebola has killed more than 400 people in Sierra Leone.

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— The Associated Press

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