President Ernest Bai Koroma urged people to heed the emergency measures as health workers, some clad in protective biohazard suits, went house to house, checking on residents and marking each doorway they visited with chalk.
Radio stations played Ebola awareness jingles on repeat and encouraged residents to stay indoors.
"As they are fighting this Ebola, we pray that it will be eradicated. That's what we are praying for," said resident Mariam Bangura as she waited at her home in Freetown's West End neighborhood. Other residents looked out over the normally bustling seaside city from windows and balconies.
Nearly 30,000 health workers, volunteers and teachers aim to visit every household in the country of six million people by Sunday to educate them about the disease and isolate the sick.