All Sierra Leone’s six-million population have been confined to their homes. The three-day shutdown is a desperate bid to fight the outbreak, as US health officials warn the disease could spread to over half a million people.
“Today the life of every one is at stake, but we will get over this difficulty if all do what we have been asked to do,” President Ernest Bai Koroma said in a national address on Thursday, a day before the shutdown was due to come into force.
People were in a hurry ahead of the edict to buy food. Shopkeepers were distraught at the prospect of losing three days’ worth of income, given that much of the country’s population, including the capital Freetown, live on as little as $2 a day or less. Each day is a struggle.