EBOLA: U.S Embassy Staff To Leave Liberia
The US State Department has ordered the departure of all family members of its embassy staff in Liberia, one of the four West African nations hit hard by the Ebola virus. “The State Department ordered the departure from Monrovia of all eligible family members not employed by post in the coming days,” department spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement in Friday.
Harf said in the statement that the US embassy in Liberia suggested the step “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Washington is focusing its efforts on helping US citizens in the country, the Liberian government, international health organisations as well as local non-governmental organisations to deal with the unprecedented Ebola outbreak. ”The State Department also warned the US nationals not to travel to Liberia.
However, the Chinese medical team in Liberia said on Friday that it would continue to stay in the country to help battle against the Ebola outbreak. The team leader, Zhou Yongjun said on Friday that some countries had evacuated their nationals and medical staff that were helping to combat the spread of the virus from the hospitals in Liberia.
“A total of 352 cases and 170 deaths have been reported so far in Liberia since April when the deadly virus broke out in the country.
“Egypt and the United States have evacuated their medical staff from the hospitals in the capital of Liberia, where the epidemic has also broken out,” Zhou said. He added that the local doctors were also put on leave to avoid contracting the deadly virus. He, however, said the Chinese medical workers would continue to stay in the country to fight the virus and help local patients.
Zhou said that the medical workers had taken protective measures themselves against the virus. According to him, lack of adequate protective measures, medical knowledge and failure to enforce quarantine measures contributed to the severity of the epidemic.
He, nonetheless, urged all Chinese citizens to avoid “non-essential” travel to Liberia. The nine-man strong Chinese medical team arrived in Liberia in Oct. 2013 to provide medical care to local patients.
Liberia had announced a state of emergency in a bid to prevent the deadly epidemic from spiralling out of control.
The country had also closed all of its schools and most of its border crossings, and put many government workers on leave.
According to the World Health Organisation, the Ebola outbreak has sickened 1,711 people and killed 932 so far in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The Ebola virus, which can incubate for up to 21 days, has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent.
The WHO describes the disease, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, as “a severe, often fatal illness” and “one of the world’s most virulent diseases.” The virus is spread through direct contact with the body fluids of those infected.
According to the UN global health body, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for more than 60 per cent of the deaths.