FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone's controversial Ebola lockdown has uncovered some 150 new cases of the deadly virus in addition to around 70 bodies previously unaccounted for, according to the authorities, who said they may repeat the campaign.
Most of the west African country's six million people were confined to their homes for 72 hours from Friday, as 30,000 volunteers went from door to door to educate residents on preventing the spread of the deadly epidemic.
"We have an overflow of bodies which we still need to bury but this has been an everyday occurence since the Ebola outbreak... Now at least we have about 150 new cases," Steven Gaojia, head of the country's emergency operation centre, said late Sunday.
The country's chief medical officer earlier said up to 70 bodies had been uncovered, but these were in and around the capital, and results for the whole country are likely to push up the figures significantly.
Health Minister Abubakarr Fofanah told AFP volunteers had managed to reach around 80 per cent of homes, deeming the action a success. "We have learnt a lot from the campaign.
Although this campaign has ended, there is a possibility we would have a similar one some other time," he said.
"I cannot as of now give you statistics about the total corpses collected during the three-day period as we are now awaiting returns from other parts of the country and this will be made known as soon as the full report is compiled."
Fofanah said one of the successes of the action was to cut down on "night burials" - funeral services held within families trying to conceal the fact that there had been an Ebola patient in the household.