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Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads

Updated: 2014-07-31 09:41
( Agencies)

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads

A medical personnel demonstrates personal protective equipment to educate team members on the Ebola virus in Liberia in this undated handout photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse. [Photo/Agencies]

Mike Noyes, head of humanitarian response at Action Aid UK, said people affected by Ebola should be treated with compassion and not criminalized.

Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads
No suspected Ebola case so far in HK

"Enforced isolation of a whole community is a medieval approach to controlling the spread of disease," he said. Some airlines in the region have cut routes to countries affected by Ebola, even as the WHO is saying it does not recommend travel restrictions as a step to control outbreaks.

On Wednesday, Liberian health officials said an isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, was overrun with cases and health workers were being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes.

Protests by the local community against construction of an isolation unit at Elwa Hospital have ended, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant minister of health, but patients with Ebola symptoms will have to wait at home until work is finished.

"The staff here are overwhelmed. This is a humanitarian crisis in Liberia," Nyenswah told Reuters by telephone.

Nyenswah said the suspected patients were being treated by trained medical staff with full protective gear, but it would take at least 24 to 36 hours to build the new unit.

Initial resistance to building a new isolation unit highlighted the fear and mistrust health workers have faced across West Africa as they battle the outbreak, which has strained the region's weak health systems.

Dozens of local health workers, including Sierra Leone and Liberia's leading two Ebola doctors, have died treating patients.

Samaritans Purse said on Wednesday it would stop running case-management centers in Liberia after an attack on employees over the weekend and resistance from the local community to the expansion of their unit in Monrovia. The organization said it was withdrawing non-essential staff from the country.

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