Sierra Leone has deployed hundreds of troops to guard Ebola patients in an attempt to quarantine the isolated villages at the center of the Ebola outbreak.
A presidential aide in Sierra Leone on Tuesday said the soldiers would “deter relatives and friends of Ebola patients from forcefully taking them from hospitals without medical consent.”
The fight against Ebola’s spreading has been hampered by relatives discharging highly contagious patients from hospitals and taking them back to die in their villages.
Seven-hundred soldiers in Sierra Leone set up roadblocks to make sure only health personnel could move in and out of the hardest-hit communities.
Sierra Leone has seen 646 cases and 273 deaths.
The announcement followed British Airways suspending all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August because of the “worsening public health situation” in the West African countries.
Meanwhile, doctors in Saudi Arabia said they were testing a patient suspected to have caught Ebola during a trip to Sierra Leone.
On Monday, People in Liberia took to the streets to protest against bodies left for days in the streets and houses of the Ebola-hit country.
There is currently no known cure for Ebola, a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding.
The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Ebola was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 in an outbreak that killed 280 people.