Liberia shuts schools in battle against Ebola

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MONROVIA – Liberia announced Wednesday it was shutting all schools and placing “non-essential” government workers on 30 days’ leave in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola epidemic raging in west Africa.

“All schools are ordered closed following further directives from the ministry of education,” President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in a televised address to the nation.

“All markets at border areas are hereby ordered closed until further notice.”

Liberia, along with neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, is struggling to contain an epidemic that has infected some 1,200 people and left at least 670 dead across the region since the start of the year.

“All non-essential staff — to be determined by the heads of ministries and agencies — are to be placed on 30 days’ compulsory leave,” Sirleaf added.

“Friday August 1 is declared a non-working day and is to be used for the disinfection of all public facilities.”

She said Liberia, where the death toll stands at 129 from 249 cases, would be contributing $5.0 million (3.7 million euros) as an “initial contribution” to the regional fight against Ebola.

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