THERE ARE five new cases of Ebola every hour in Sierra Leone, a leading charity has warned.
Save the Children said there were 765 new cases of the deadly virus reported in the West African state last week, while there are only 327 beds in the country.
Earlier this month, Britain said it would build facilities for 700 new beds in Sierra Leone but the first of these will not be ready for weeks, and the rest may take months.
It is the world’s worst outbreak of the virus, killing 3,338 people so far.
There have been 7,178 confirmed cases, with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea suffering the most.
Save the Children says Ebola is spreading across Sierra Leone at a “terrifying rate”, with the number of new cases being recorded doubling every few weeks.
“We’re in a race against time,” said Justin Forsyth, the organisation’s chief executive told the BBC.
Safety trials for two experimental vaccines are under way in the UK and US, the World Health Organisation said yesterday (Oct 1), and will be expanded to 10 sites in Africa, Europe and North America in the coming weeks.
It said it expected to begin small-scale use of the experimental vaccines in West Africa early next year.
Experts and politicians are set to meet in London to debate a global response to the crisis.
Fears that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak might spread to other countries around the world were heightened after it emerged that an American had died from the disease in the Nigerian capital Lagos, after travelling from Liberia – one of the worst-affected countries. Experts have warned that the virus could be spread further afield by infected people travelling by plane.
However, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the virus was “not a significant risk to the UK”.