Via The Wall Street Journal: Liberia, Sierra Leone Take Dramatic Steps to Slow Ebola Outbreak. Excerpt:
Liberia and Sierra Leone trucked in soldiers to quarantine whole sections of their respective nations Thursday, a dramatic response to the collapse of hospitals and clinics in the most Ebola-infected zones.
In Liberia, soldiers and police at checkpoints began halting all road travel entering and leaving eight of the nation's 15 counties, said Information Minister Lewis Brown. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had declared a state of emergency late Wednesday for the coming 90 days, saying her government "will institute extraordinary measures, including, if need be, the suspensions of certain rights and privileges."
A similar effort was under way in Sierra Leone on Thursday, where soldiers in riot gear blocked the roads leading to the country's two most infected districts, said Abdulai Baratay, a government spokesman. Only first responders and officials on public-health-related trips were exempt from the restrictions, he added.
"The broad plan is to keep unaffected areas unaffected," said Mr. Brown. "We cannot do that as long as people are moving."
The two countries account for 71 % of the 1,711 cases the World Health Organization had recorded as of Aug. 4 in what has become the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Though the disease began across the border in neighboring Guinea, sometime between December and February, it fanned out quickly into Liberia and Sierra Leone, two nations where cross-border trade is common.
The governments' new martial response comes as hospital systems in affected areas are increasingly collapsing. Wards are filling up with patients, running out of supplies, and even staff, aid workers and officials say. Medical workers aren't just dying from the disease they're treating—they're also deserting their posts.
In Liberia, the government was sending influential people to talk grief-stricken health workers into returning to work, said Bernice Dahn, the country's chief medical officer.
"People are scared. People are traumatized," said Mr. Brown. "When you see your colleagues, your co-workers succumb to the disease... the first reaction is for people to walk away."
Soon, he said, Liberia may begin quarantining people in their homes for want of hospital space.