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WHO: Sierra Leone Ebola prognosis 'very good'

The World Health Organisation said new health facilities should be opened in a few weeks in Sierra Leone.

FILE: An Ebola sign placed in front of a home in the West Point slum area of Monrovia, Liberia. Picture: EPA.

GENEVA - Sierra Leone does not yet have enough beds in treatment centres to isolate Ebola patients in the west of the country but many new facilities should be opened in the next few weeks, the World Health Organization's (WHO) assistant director general said on Monday.

"That capacity (to treat Ebola) at the district level is strong and getting stronger in Sierra Leone, and that's why I think the prognosis is actually very good," Bruce Aylward said, praising the Sierre Leone government's efforts to combat the epidemic.

EBOLA DEATH TOLL NEARS 7,000

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, WHO said.

The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday.

The UN health agency did not provide any explanation for the abrupt increase, but the figures, published on its website, appeared to include previously unreported deaths.

The organisation's spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Just over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed in the forests of remote south-eastern Guinea in March, according to the WHO data that covered the three hardest-hit countries.

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have accounted for all but 15 of the deaths in the outbreak, which has touched five other countries, according to the previous WHO figures.

WEST AFRICA EBOLA APPEAL SONG LAUNCHED

Some of Africa's top musicians launched an alternative Ebola appeal song to Band Aid's new recording of Do they know it's Christmas with proceeds also going to fight the virus.

Despite reaching number one in the UK charts, Bob Geldof's Do they know it's Christmas song has been slammed by critics who say the rewritten lyrics, including Christmas bells that clang chimes of doom and a world of dread and fear/Where a kiss of love can kill you, are an insult to Africans.

By contrast, Africa stop Ebola, sung in French and local languages including Malinke, Soussou, Kissi and Lingala, uses a mixture of rap and melodies that are distinctive to West Africa, to urge people to take Ebola seriously and go to a doctor if they are ill.

Recorded by Malians Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare and duo Amadou and Mariam, Guinean Mory Kante, Congolese Barbara Kanam and Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi among others, the song also warns people to wash their hands, avoid shaking hands with others and to refrain from touching dead bodies.

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