Liberia declares state of emergency over Ebola virus

Posted: August 7, 2014 in World News
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Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has declared a state of emergency as the country
grapples with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Speaking on national television she said some civil liberties might have to be suspended.

The Ebola outbreak has also hit Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 930 people.

World Health Organization (WHO) experts are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a
response to the outbreak.

The two-day meeting will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

Ebola, a viral haemorrhagic fever, is one of the deadliest diseases known to humans, with a fatality
rate of between 55% and 90%. It is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of Ebola patients
showing symptoms.

A WHO statement on Wednesday said 932 patients had died of the disease in West Africa so far, with
most of the latest fatalities reported in Liberia, where at least 282 have died of the virus,
Announcing a state of emergency for 90 days, President Sirleaf said in a statement that the
government and people of Liberia required “extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people”.

She said that “ignorance and poverty, as well as
entrenched religious and cultural practices, continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease”.
Observers say the Ebola crisis in Liberia has got worse because many people are keeping sick
relatives at home instead of taking them to isolation centres.

Amid international concern over the spread of the virus, US President Barack Obama said that the illness “can be controlled and contained very effectively if we use the right protocols.

“The countries affected are the first to admit that what’s happened here is the public health systems have been overwhelmed. They weren’t able to identify and then isolate cases quickly enough.

“As a consequence, it spread more rapidly than has been typical with the periodic Ebola outbreaks that occurred previously,” the president said.

He said that the US was working with Europe and the WHO to provide resources to contain the
epidemic.

Source: BBC Africa

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