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Guinea 'Emergency' Aimed at Stemming Spread of Ebola

Children come forward to get their feet disinfected after Red Cross workers explained that they were spraying bleach, and weren't spraying the village with the Ebola virus, in Guinea's Forecariah district, Jan. 30, 2015.

Guinea's President Alpha Conde has declared a 45-day "health emergency" in five regions in the west and southwest of the Ebola-hit nation in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly disease.

Conde announced measures on state TV late Saturday that will enable authorities to restrict people's movements in the districts of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia. He said, "Wherever the need may be, throughout this period, measures of restriction and confinement will be taken."

More than 10,000 people have died from Ebola in West Africa since the current outbreak began, and while cases are thought to have peaked, Guinea is struggling to stamp out the virus.

Guinea also deployed security forces to the country's southwest in response to reports that Sierra Leoneans were crossing the border to flee an Ebola lockdown intended to stamp out the deadly disease in that country, an official said Saturday.

Ebola has infected an estimated 12,000 people in Sierra Leone, more than in any other country. Case numbers have fallen steadily in recent months, but 33 new cases were reported last week, mostly around the capital of Freetown and in the north, near the border with Guinea.

Neighboring Sierra Leone was expected to end its second three-day lockdown on Sunday, an effort officials said could help the country get "total control" over Ebola.

In the capital, Freetown, however, there were signs it was breaking down after less than two days. Fighting erupted as a food distribution point. Police said peace was restored with the help of the military, Reuters reported.

Freetown is one of Sierra Leone's last Ebola hotspots.

Last September, Sierra Leone, a country of 6 million people, conducted a similar lockdown that uncovered dozens of previously unknown Ebola patients.

The disease is spread through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.