Guineans jailed for putting an Ebola patient in a taxi

Six people have been put in isolation in prison in Guinea after being accused of travelling with a corpse of a relative who had died of Ebola.The authorities said the body was seated upright in a taxi, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans with sunglasses and sandwiched between three others.If after 21 days they show no signs of having the virus they will be tried for violating the health emergency.Guinea is battling to control a flare up in Ebola cases.Nearly 2,500 people have died in Guinea since the West Africa Ebola outbreak began more than a year ago.

The BBC’s Alhassan Sillah in the capital, Conakry, says just nine days ago only nine patients were in Ebola treatment centres countrywide, but now that number has risen to nearly 30 cases.

The head of Guinea’s Ebola response, Dr Sakoba Keita, says those now in quarantine in prison had been travelling in a taxi with the body of the police recruit from the town of Forecariah towards Conakry.

They were stopped at an Ebola checkpoint where security officials became suspicious when the seemingly well-dressed passenger remained motionless, he said.Dr Keita says that it is such actions that account for the continued spread of the Ebola epidemic.Ebola victims must be buried by the Red Cross but people who disobey the rules generally do so because they want to conduct the funeral themselves in a specific place, our correspondent says.

The current Ebola outbreak is the deadliest in history – and has killed more than 11,000 people. It initially centred on Guinea’s remote south-eastern region of Nzerekore in early 2014, and later spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia free of Ebola as the country had had no new cases in 42 days.

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