Air France suspends flights to Sierra Leone over Ebola

A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of Unicef ta
A health worker, wearing head-to-toe protective gear, offers water to a woman with Ebola, at a treatment centre for infected persons in Kenema Government Hospital, in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, in this handout photo courtesy of Unicef taken in July 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - French flag carrier Air France said it was suspending its flights to Sierra Leone from Thursday, amid an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

Wednesday's announcement followed a recommendation from French authorities to "temporarily suspend" its services to Freetown given the way the epidemic was developing and the state of the health systems there.

The lethal tropical virus which re-emerged in west Africa early this year has infected more than 2,600 people. Liberia has been worst hit with 624 registered deaths. Guinea, where the current outbreak was first detected, has reported 406 deaths, Sierra Leone 392 and Nigeria five, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

In Sierra Leone, it is the east of the country that is especially hard-hit but a death in Freetown has spread fear that the capital could be in line for a wave of cases.

Before Air France suspended its Freetown flights, the airline was running the 6.5-hour flight three times per week.