30 July 2014

Liberia: Mixed Reactions Over Closure of Borders

The order by Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the closure of some of the country's borders has received public mixed reaction.

It can be recalled that recently, President Johnson-Sirleaf ordered the closure of Liberia's three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation.

The Liberian leader made the pronouncement following the first meeting of an Ebola taskforce.

The taskforce, which is being chaired by her, was created as a means of containing the disease.

With the closure of the borders, testing centers would be set up at the few major entry points to the country which will remain open, such as the international airports.

Speaking on several major talk shows in the nation's capital, Monrovia, some Liberians described the Liberian leader's action as "belated and meaningless".

According to them, action of such should have earlier been taken from the first outbreak instead of now.

"I think that pronouncement is belated. She should have done that ever since the first outbreak, and not now," said one James Kiamu, a caller on one of the talk shows.

The virus has killed at least 129 people here, and claimed more than 670 lives across the region.

A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital died on Saturday, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control.

Also last week, an official of the Ministry of Finance identified as Patrick Sawyer died of the disease at a Lagos hospital.

But contrary to the views by others that the Liberian leader's decision is belated, others have backed the decision, saying that "It is better late than never."

"While it is true that the pronouncement may seem belated, I think it is good that this action was taken," noted one Patrick Suah.

It could be recalled that in March of this year, the Government of Senegal closed its borders with Guinea as a means of preventing the disease from spreading into its territory.

That decision was heavily criticized by the affected countries as well as civil society organizations.


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