Guinea declares Ebola a 'national health emergency'

Conakry - Guinean President Alpha Conde on Wednesday declared a deadly Ebola outbreak that has killed 377 in the west African nation a "health emergency".

"The World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency over Ebola. Considering that Guinea is a signatory to the WHO constitution I declare Ebola a national health emergency in Guinea," Conde said in a statement read on state television.

He announced a series of nine measures including strict controls at border points, travel restrictions and a ban on moving bodies "from one town to another until the end of the epidemic".

In addition all suspected victims will automatically be hospitalised until laboratory results are obtained, Conde said.

He said all people who had been in contact with Ebola victims were "formally banned from leaving their homes until the end of their surveillance period".

Anyone found in contravention of the measures would be considered "a threat to public health and will face the might of the law," the statement said, without elaborating.

The current outbreak of Ebola - the worst since the disease was discovered in then-Zaire four decades ago - was first detected in Guinea at the start of the year.

It has claimed 1 069 lives and infected nearly 2 000 people as it has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.