The government of Sierra Leone has banned Christmas and New Year’s celebration so that health workers can combat the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. According to an announcement from the country’s response unit for the disease, the move was to reduce and prevent the spread of the virus which has ravaged and decimated communities across the West African country in recent months.

According to the AFP, head of the Ebola Control Unit, Palo Conteh, told journalists in Freetown that there would be “no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year” in Sierra Leone. “We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola. Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any celebrations,” he said. Even though the country is predominantly Muslim, a little over 10 per cent of the populace are Christians, according to the CIA world fact book.

Earlier on Thursday, President Ernest Bai Koroma asked fellow countrymen and women to stop practicing religious and traditional burial methods that involved touching and washing of corpses. “We should stop all traditional practices for now so that we will live to continue to practice them later,” he said. Over 1,800 people have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone alone, making it the worst hit of all the countries affected.

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