The General Services Agency or GSA has sent all employees on one month compulsory leave in the wake of the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia. GSA Director General Madam Mary Broh made the pronouncement here on Monday in a live radio interview. Madam Broh said the action is necessary to allow a complete sanitization of the GSA premises, including offices, warehouses and toilets.
She said a skeleton staff, mainly director are being allowed to report to work, pending completion of the exercise, and that employees returning to work after the one month period, would be required to go through screening and sanitization. The Ebola epidemic in Liberia has become a national health crisis with the official death toll as of last week put at 129.
The Government of Liberia Sunday announced the closure of all borders except major entry points, including the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, James Spriggs Payne Airport in Monrovia, Foya Crossing in Lofa County, Bo Waterside Crossing in Grand Cape Mount, and the Ganta Crossing in Nimba County. Liberia shares common with neighboring Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is leading a taskforce to coordinate responses on the outbreak with a national health team formulated by the government.
President Sirleaf said at these entry points, preventive and testing centers will be established, and stringent preventive measures to be announced will be scrupulously adhered to, including a new travel policy by the Liberia Airport Authority covering inspection and testing of all outgoing and incoming passengers; restrictions on public gatherings such as solidarity marches, demonstrations, promotional advertisements; and hotels, restaurants, entertainment centers and video clubs are to play five-minute film on Ebola awareness and prevention.
These latest actions by the government followed the death of a senior Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, who contracted the Ebola Virus Disease and died at the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia over the weekend.
Dr. Brisbane is said to be the first Liberian doctor to have died from the virus. A Ugandan doctor supervising responses at the government-owned Redemption Hospital in the borough of New Kru Town, suburb of Monrovia also contracted the disease and died about two months ago at the JFK. The Ugandan doctor's death followed the death of a Liberian nurse at the Redemption Hospital from Ebola.
Another Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, died from Ebola at the Lagos Airport in Nigeria last week Thursday, while an American helping response efforts to the outbreak in the country, Dr. Kent Brantly, is reportedly receiving intensive medication in Monrovia after he was infected with the Ebola virus. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa started early this year from neighboring Guinea and simultaneously spreads to Liberia and Sierra Leone, taking a deadly toll on the three countries.
Meanwhile, the government has issued standing orders to the security forces, including the Armed Forces of Liberia, to give support to the Technical Team and the Task Force in enforcing these regulations.