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Army medics arrive to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone

British army medics have arrived in Sierra Leone to provide medical support in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

Around 120 troops have been engaging in exercises to simulate the conditions they will face in Sierra Leone.

Around 750 British troops are expected to be deployed to Sierra Leone over the coming months as part of the country's response to the outbreak of the potentially deadly virus.

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Oxfam: Prevention of new Ebola cases must be a priority

Oxfam has called for a greater focus on the prevention of new Ebola cases in West Africa in addition to managing existing cases and fatalities.

The charity says that many new Ebola cases are due to a "lack of access to basic washing facilities or because of their lack of knowledge about how the disease is spread".

It plans to triple its programmes in Sierra Leone and Liberia to provide water and hygiene and sanitation supplies, as well as public awareness campaigns.

We must break the chain of infection by equipping people with the means to protect themselves from contracting this deadly disease in the first place.

– Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director

Sierra Leone sees one of the deadliest days of Ebola after 121 deaths

A health worker checks the temperature of a woman. Credit: Reuters

Sierra Leone has seen one of the most deadly days since the start of the Ebola outbreak after 121 people died and scores of new infections were diagnosed yesterday.

The figures, which covered the period through Saturday, put the total number of deaths at 678, up from 557 the day before. The daily statistics compiled by Sierra Leone's Emergency Operations Centre also showed 81 new cases of the hemorrhagic fever.

More than 50 new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone lockdown

More than 50 new cases found in Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown Credit: Reuters

At least 56 new cases and 92 bodies have been discovered in Sierra Leone's Ebola lock down.

There is a "very strong possibility" the national curfew will be extended beyond the scheduled finish later today, an emergency official has said.

Sierra Leone is staging a three-day lockdown aimed at stemming the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Sierra Leone locked down for three days to battle Ebola

Thousands of health workers were conducting house-to-house visits today across Sierra Leone in search of hidden Ebola cases as the entire country was ordered to stay at home for three days.

In an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease, authorities hope to find and isolate Ebola patients who have not gone to health centres, regarded by many only as places to die.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma said health workers would hand out soap and that once a house had been checked it would be marked with a sticker. "The survival and dignity of each and every Sierra Leonean is at stake ... this is a fight for this land that we love," he said.

Ebola has so far killed more than 2,600 people have died across West Africa.

Meanwhile, six people have been arrested following the murders in Guinea of eight people including health officials and journalists who had been on an Ebola awareness campaign. Just one member of the group escaped the killers.

A football fan sanitises his hands in Abidjan ahead of Sierra Leone's African Nations Cup game against Ivory Coast earlier this month. Both countries have been hit by the Ebola virus. Credit: Luc Gnago/Reuters

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British firm evacuates workers after Ebola outbreak

A British mining company has evacuated a number of "non-essential" workers from Sierra Leone following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the west African country.

Colourised transmission electron micrograph reveals some of the morphology displayed by an Ebola virus. Credit: Press Association Images/Frederick Murphy

London Mining said it imposed travel restrictions in the region around its Marampa mine and was closely monitoring the situation with health chiefs and international agencies.

"London Mining notes recent reports suggesting that an increased number of incidents of Ebola Fever have been found. Following consultation with relevant authorities, the company has imposed restrictions on travel [and] a number of non-essential personnel have left the country," the company said.

The iron ore mining company said production at its mine was not affected.

Officials in the country say there have been two deaths from Ebola and a dozen other cases of the deadly and highly contagious disease, following an outbreak in neighbouring Guinea that also led to cases in Liberia earlier this year.

Taylor sentence to reflect his 'position of authority'

Charles Taylor listens to his sentencing Credit: REUTERS/United Photos

Presiding judge Richard Lussick said that Charles Taylor's sentence of 50 years was supposed to reflect his position of authority.

The prosecution had recommended a sentence of 80 years, but the judge ruled this would be excessive as Taylor had not directly committed the crimes himself.

Judge Lussick said: "Leadership must be carried out by example by the prosecution of crimes not the commission of crimes.

"The sentence is intended to "underscore the gravity it attached to the betrayal of public trust."

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