Taking preemptive measures to check the spread of Ebola, Sierra Leone has put a ban Christmas celebrations this year saying mass gatherings could risk further spread of Ebola in the West African nation.
A government spokesman made the announcement as the African country struggles to cope with the increasing number of people who have contracted the deadly Ebola virus. The death toll has only risen over the past few months fuelled, in part, by the surging infection in the poor African nation which is thought to be one of the three countries where the deadly disease originated.
"The government is planning to keep people indoors during Christmas through Boxing Day and New Year," said Jarrah Kawusu-Konte, a spokesman for Sierra Leone's president as reported by Reuters.
According to widely cited Figures from the World Health Organisation, there were over 18,188 Ebola cases so far in the three states in West Africa – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Among them, 6,583 people have already died as of Friday.
Although there is no way to stop people from gathering in groups, the government has asserted that it is important to eliminate any possibility of the disease spread.
"When you have parties, the risks are very high. We are very anxious to break the chain of transmission through parties and gatherings," Kawusu-Konte said without specifying the exact date when the ban would take effect.
He further told the news agency that the government was mulling the option of deploying soldiers across the country to enforce the ban.