Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Hiding Ebola patients now illegal

Published:Sunday | August 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

FREETOWN (AP):

Sierra Leone has passed a new law imposing possible jail time for anyone caught hiding an Ebola patient - a common practice that the World Health Organization believes has contributed to a major underestimation of the current outbreak.

The new law, passed last Friday, imposes prison terms of up to two years for violators. The law now goes for presidential approval.

Authorities said the measure was necessary to compel residents to cooperate with government officials, noting that some residents had resisted steps to combat Ebola and built isolation centres in their communities.

Sierra Leone has been hard-hit by the Ebola outbreak with at least 910 cases and 392 deaths.

But these numbers don't capture all Ebola cases because families hide patients, fearing high fatality rates and the stigma that comes with a positive diagnosis.