As the international community pledges to do more to halt the spread of Ebola, Britain prepares to ship thousands of protective suits to Sierra Leone as part of its efforts. Ciara Lee reports.
They were criticised for doing too little too late, but countries around the world are gearing up to do more in the fight against Ebola. Britain will send thousands of these protective suits to Sierra Leone to help stem the spread of the Ebola virus. Made by a company based in the northern British town of Hull, they'll be used by soldiers, nurses and doctors. Managing director Thomas Martin, says the British government has doubled its order 50,000 to 100,000 suits. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCO MANAGING DIRECTOR, THOMAS MARTIN, SAYING: "We were given the hazard and the government wanted out expertise to come up with a solution. And there it is. It's a type four level protection suit. It looks like a paper garment but it's actually a highly sophisticated piece of workwear and protective gear. Multi-layered and on there, really crucial point, you can see it's got seams. It's a cut and sewn garment so every seam is then covered with some tape to protect people." The suit alone costs approximately £6, and is destroyed after use. Arco's equipment covers the wearer from head to toe including a full visor. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARCO MANAGING DIRECTOR, THOMAS MARTIN, SAYING: "Well the visor was what we specified to begin with, the government wanted to use goggles. But if you are using a goggle you have to put it on with your hands and the elastic goes around the back of the head. You are touching your head. So for us the right visor is vital. That goes on, you're protected and you haven't gone anywhere near your hair or you're face." Around 40 British military personnel, including engineers and planners, are currently in Sierra Leone overseeing the construction of a treatment centre near the capital, Freetown. A further 750 more will travel to Sierra Leone next week. Three helicopters and a 100-bed naval hospital will also be sent to the region. Ebola has killed nearly 4,000 people in West Africa in the largest outbreak on record. The World Health Organisation says in the countries worst hit, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, there is still no sign the disease is being brought under control.