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Sierra Leone Records Sharp Drop in Ebola Cases

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, photo, health workers lift a suspected Ebola patient into the back of an ambulance in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone recorded only three new confirmed Ebola cases Tuesday. That is a sign that the sustained effort to fight the disease is succeeding, says government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay.

“We are very much encouraged by the confirmed cases particularly Tuesday whereby we recorded three confirmed cases for the entire country. So that is giving us a glimmer of hope, but it a hope whereby we continue to remind the public that we shouldn’t be complacent at all. That even though we have recorded only three cases, we don’t want people to think it is over.”

“We must improve our surveillance system and above all our social mobilization, which no other person but the president has been leading throughout the length and breadth of this country,” he added.

Bayraytay’s comments came as President Barack Obama was announcing the withdrawal by April 30 of most of the U.S. troops sent to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The Sierra Leonean official said a meeting Monday between President Ernest Bai Koroma and Guinea’s President Alpha Conde in the capital, Freetown, marked a joint effort to respond to the challenges Ebola poses in neighboring countries. President Conde is currently head of the Mano River Union.

The three countries currently battling Ebola are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

“He was here in an official one day visit to see how Guinea can collaborate further with not only Sierra Leone but also Liberia so that we can promote regional effort in the fight against the virus. Recognizing that we share common cultures, we share common borders with a lot of illegal crossing points among the three countries,” said Bayraytay.

Sierra Leone closed schools across the country following the Ebola outbreak as part of an effort to contain the disease.

Bayraytay says schools will re-open March 30.

He said Sierra Leone’s president had appointed former education minister Christiana Thorpe to coordinate efforts with international development partners and the education ministry in readiness to reopen the schools.

“So far part of the modalities that we are putting in place include among others that all schools are going to re-open on 30th of March and all schools would have been fumigated and decontaminated, particularly those that were used as holding and treatment centers,” said Bayraytay.

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