Ebola hit Sierra Leone has quarantined more than half of the country's population of six million, in six of the nation's 14 districts.
In an effort to stem the spread of the disease which is spiraling out of control, Tonkolili, a district of around 400,000 people some 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the capital Freetown, is the sixth district which no one is allowed to leave or enter without special dispensation. This quarantine is expected to end on December 15.
Tonkolili is one of the most economically productive parts of Sierra Leone and has seen a relatively small proportion of the country's Ebola infections but is experiencing a continued spread which threatens its farming and mining industries. Announcing the shutdown, Education Minister Minkailu Bah urged people of Sierra Leonean to end funeral rites involving washing the bodies of the dead, one of the principal causes of the spread of the highly infectious virus.
According to the World Health Organization's data, in Sierra Leone, Ebola has infected 7109 people, killing 1530.
The other districts that are quarantined for an indefinite period include the northern districts of Port Loko and Bombali, eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, and the southern district of Moyamba.