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Sierra Leone lifts Ebola quarantines as crisis eases

23 January 2015, 16:20

Freetown - Sierra Leone on Friday lifted crippling nationwide restrictions on movement put in place at the height of the Ebola crisis, amid signs that the deadly epidemic was retreating.

"Restrictions on movement will be eased to support economic activity. As such, there will no longer be any district or chiefdom level restrictions on movement," President Ernest Bai Koroma said in an address to the nation late Thursday.

The west African nation of six million has restricted travel for around half its population, sealing off six of its 14 districts and numerous tribal chiefdoms since announcing a state of emergency in July in response to an outbreak which has killed more than 3,000 Sierra Leoneans.

Koroma pointed to a "steady downward trend" in new cases in recent weeks, adding that "victory is in sight" but cautioning against complacency.

The president said the travel bans would be removed from Friday and restrictions will be eased on Saturday trading hours in the hard-hit Western Area, which includes the capital Freetown.

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