FREETOWN- Sierra Leoneans on Sunday celebrated the end of a three-day lockdown aimed at stemming the world's worst ever Ebola epidemic, as authorities claimed the controversial operation had identified dozens of new infections and located scores of bodies.
In the most extreme strategy employed by a nation since the epidemic began, Sierra Leone ordered its 6 million residents to stay indoors as volunteers circulated to educate households as well as isolate the sick and remove the dead.
In the early evening, even before the lockdown officially ended at midnight, residents in some parts of the capital Freetown emerged onto the streets to sing and dance. Police in the western part of the city said they had made a number of arrests in an attempt to enforce the measure in its final hours.
Earlier in the day, Stephen Gaojia, head of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that leads the national Ebola response, said a few areas had still not been reached by the government's teams
"Even though the exercise has been a huge success so far, it has not been concluded in some metropolitan cities like Freetown and Kenema," he told Reuters.
Gaojia said 92 bodies had been recovered across the country by the end of Saturday, the second day of the lockdown.
Some 123 people had contacted authorities during the drive, believing they might be infected. Of these, 56 tested positive for Ebola, 31 tested negative and 36 were still awaiting their results, he said.