The incidence of Ebola in Sierra Leone seems to be slowing, where officials say they will start house-to-house searches for the afflicted.

A total of 18,603 cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported as of Dec. 14, with 6,915 reported deaths, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

"Reported case incidence is fluctuating in Guinea and declining in Liberia," the UN health agency said. "In Sierra Leone, there are signs the increase in incidence has slowed, and that incidence may no longer be increasing."

Elsewhere, Sierra Leone has announced a new push to combat the epidemic.

Health workers will seek Ebola victims and anyone with whom they have had contact, transporting those infected to new British-built treatment centres, according to a government plan announced this week.

Internal travel restrictions will also be imposed.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are at the heart of the world's worst recorded outbreak of Ebola.

President Ernest Bai Koroma said that under the measures, Sierra Leone's worshippers on Christmas Day must return home after services, and other festivities are banned. New Year's Eve services must stop by 5 p.m. local time, while New Year's Day festivities are prohibited.

"This is the festive season where Sierra Leoneans often celebrate with families in a flamboyant and joyous manner, but all must be reminded that our country is at war with a vicious enemy," he said in a nationwide address.

The government was also imposing restrictions on travel between districts, a ban on Sunday trading and the end of Saturday shopping at noon, Koroma said.

The new measures are part of a month-long surge in and around the capital Freetown.

With files from Reuters