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Liberian president orders curfew over Ebola outbreak

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a night-time curfew from Wednesday (Aug 19) and the quarantine of two neighbourhoods, including one in the capital Monrovia, in a bid to stem the deadly Ebola outbreak.

MONROVIA: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a night-time curfew from Wednesday (Aug 20) and the quarantine of two neighbourhoods, including one in the capital Monrovia, in a bid to stem the deadly Ebola outbreak.

"Commencing Wednesday, August 20 there will be a curfew from 9pm to 6am (5am to 2pm Singapore time)," Sirleaf said in a radio address late on Tuesday. "All entertainment centres are to be closed. All video centres are to be closed at 6pm," she ordered.

The new quarantine areas include Monrovia's West Point slum. Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown on Tuesday announced the return of 17 missing Ebola patients, who had fled a medical facility in West Point on Saturday after it was attacked by club-wielding youths.

Sirleaf imposed a state of emergency on Aug 6, but despite increasingly draconian measures the spread of the virus has continued unabated. The UN health agency has counted 2,240 cases of confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola infection in West African nations, making this the deadliest outbreak ever.

Liberia has recorded the most Ebola deaths, with the toll standing at 466. "We have been unable to control the spread due to continued denials, cultural burying practices, disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for the warnings by the government," Sirleaf bemoaned.

Guinea has recorded 394 deaths and Sierra Leone 365. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has 15 cases and four fatalities, according to WHO data.

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