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Sierra Leone's military and police to enforce Ebola quarantines

The New York Times reports on President of Sierra Leone's address, which described new measures to stop the biggest Ebola outbreak on record:

In the address, Mr. Koroma said security forces would be deployed to support health professionals and that "all epicenters of the disease will be quarantined" along with "localities and homes where the disease is identified."

Public meetings will be restricted, houses will be searched for infected people, Parliament will be recalled and top officials will be obliged to cancel all but essential overseas travel.

Sierra Leone has recorded more than 200 deaths in an outbreak that has killed more than 600, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. It's the biggest Ebola outbreak on record.

Guinea and Liberia are the other countries at the center of this outbreak. On July 30, Liberia said it would close schools and consider quarantines and would use security forces to enforce its plans.

Quarantines should theoretically make it easier to find, treat, and isolate those with Ebola so that they don't infect others.

A major part of controlling an Ebola outbreak is to track down everyone who could be infected, which the WHO says has been a problem.

And why bring the military and police in? This is what the President of Sierra Leone said:

The police and the military will give support to health officers and NGOs to do their work unhindered and restrict movements to and from epicenters

There have been issues with people not trusting that medical workers can help them — and even some rumors that doctors are causing Ebola. News stories cite families hiding infected relatives, and the BBC reports that dozens of people who have tested positive for Ebola are now missing in Sierra Leone.

In some areas, medical workers have been unable to do their jobs because of security concerns. And workers "have been threatened with knives, stones and machetes, their vehicles sometimes surrounded by hostile mobs," according to the New York Times.

So security forces might be able to help.