Sierra Leone president declares public health emergency over Ebola

FREETOWN Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:07am EDT

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma attends a meeting of regional group Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Yamoussoukro June 29, 2012. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma attends a meeting of regional group Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Yamoussoukro June 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon

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FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone has declared a public health emergency to tackle the worst ever outbreak of Ebola and will call in security forces to quarantine epicenters of the deadly virus, President Ernest Bai Koroma said in a statement.

The measures resembled a tough anti-Ebola package announced by neighboring Liberia on Wednesday evening. Koroma also announced he was cancelling a visit to Washington for a U.S.-Africa summit next week because of the crisis.

Highly infectious Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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