23 March 2016

Liberia: Govt Closes Border With Guinea After Ebola Flare-up

Photo: UN
An Ebola medical team in Liberia (file photo).

Liberian officials ordered the border with neighboring Guinea closed Tuesday amid concerns of a new outbreak of the Ebola virus. Liberia’s information minister Lenn Eugene Nangbe told Reuters the closure is a precaution to prevent the spread of the disease, and said the border “will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves.” “We are not taking any chances at all,” Nangbe said.

Nangbe said Liberia has also sent medical personnel to crossing points along the entire Guinea border. The U.N. World Health Organization declared Guinea free of all Ebola transmission in December.

New cases confirmed

But on March 17 WHO confirmed two new cases of Ebola in the Guinean village of Koropara – a mother and her five-year-old son.

The country's Ebola coordination unit has since identified an estimated 816 people who recently may have come into contact with with the virus.  The villagers are being quarantined in their homes for 21 days to make sure they are Ebola-free.

On the same day the new infections were confirmed, the WHO announced an end to the latest flare-up of Ebola in Sierra Leone, which shares a border with Guinea.

Guinea is believed to be the epicenter of the worst Ebola outbreak on record.  Since it began in 2013, more than 28,600 people have been infected and 11,300 killed, with almost all the deaths occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The epidemic now seems to have subsided, but all three countries have seen recent incidents involving the Ebola virus and, according to WHO, the disease can come back at any time.

“WHO continues to stress that Sierra Leone, as well as Liberia and Guinea, are still at risk of Ebola flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and must remain on high alert and ready to respond,” a WHO statement said.

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