Sierra Leone: Fresh doubts over schools' reopening in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone

Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) - The recent rise in Ebola cases in some parts of Sierra Leone has raised fears that the planned re-opening of schools in the country on 30 March may not materialize.

The schools were shut eight months ago in the wake of the outbreak of the virus disease that has killed over 3,400 in the West African nation alone and almost 10,000 overall.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its recent situation report, indicated that the steep decline in case incidence nationally in Sierra Leone from December to the end of January has halted.

According to the report, transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, with 63 new confirmed cases.

“A spike of 20 new confirmed cases in Bombali is linked to the previously reported cluster of cases in the Aberdeen fishing community of the capital Freetown. There are 14 new confirmed cases over the same period, with cases still arising from unknown chains of transmission in Freetown and elsewhere,” the WHO report added.

Earlier this week, Sierra Leonean Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana himself announced that he will be in quarantine over Ebola fears, following the death of one of his security details.

Besides the surge in infections, Information Minister Alpha Khan recently said the government is short by US$85 million out of the US$139 million needed to reopen schools.

The Minister did not say whether the reopening of the schools is contingent upon the availability of fund, but said it was badly needed to disinfect schools structures, build toilets and more buildings to accommodate incoming pupils.

Some schools across the country were used as holding centres following the Ebola outbreak, and there have been calls  to either destroy those structures or disinfect  and refurbish them.
-0- PANA SBA/SEG 4March2015

04 march 2015 13:03:10

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