Since Ebola spread to Sierra Leone in May 2014, the government has imposed several local and nationwide curfews in its fight to contain the epidemic. Operation Northern Push, a drive to end infections in northwest Sierra Leone, was supposed to last 21 days, and residents of chiefdoms subjected to night-time lockdowns had been expecting the restrictions to end on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. However, the Ebola-hit country has extended the curfews placed on its worst-affected communities last month until the deadly virus has been eradicated. Palo Conteh, head of the government's National Ebola Response Center, said that the 6:00 pm to 6:00 am lockdowns would continue indefinitely.
Conteh further added, "I am pleased to announce that due to the successes we are seeing in a number of key areas Operation Northern Push will continue to run until we get to zero cases. Curfew times will remain the same and there will be regular reviews so that we can adapt the response to meet the requirements as they change."
President Ernest Bai Koroma announced in early June 2015 that he was imposing the curfew in the worst-hit parts of the northwestern districts of Kambia and Port Loko. They were the only two areas at the time still reporting new Ebola infections, although the capital Freetown has since seen its own flare-up. Health authorities who are investigating the failure of Port Loko and Kambia to eradicate Ebola have blamed herbalists for spreading the virus by secretly treating the sick.
The worst Ebola outbreak in history has seen 27,573 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of which 11,246 have been fatal. Sierra Leone has seen almost half of the total caseload, and 3,940 deaths.