Liberia’s armed forces have reportedly been given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighbouring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of ebola. Soldiers stationed in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, which border Sierra Leone, were to “shoot on sight” any person trying to cross the border, said deputy chief of staff, Colonel Eric Dennis.
The order came after border officials reported that people have continued to cross the porous border illegally. Previously, Grand Cape Mount county had 35 known “illegal entry points,” according to immigration commander Colonel Samuel Mulbah. Illegal crossings were a major health threat, said Mulbah, “because we don’t know the health status of those who cross at night.”
Like war: The Ebola crisis
Liberia closed its borders with Sierra Leone weeks ago in an attempt to contain the ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 1100 people in West Africa so far. Meanwhile, Liberian officials are continuing to search for 17 ebola patients who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in Monrovia, raising fears they could spread the deadly disease. “We have not yet found them,” Information Minister Lewis Brown said, yesterday, adding that those who looted the place took away mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients.”
On Saturday, youths wielding clubs and knives raided the medical facility set up in a high school in the densely-populated West Point, some shouting “there’s no ebola”, echoing wild rumours that the epidemic has been made up by the West to oppress Africans. Authorities are now considering sealing off the area, home to around 75,000 people, although some reports suggest the infected patients may have already fled West Point.
WHO urges detention of suspect patients
Meantime, the World Health Organization, WHO, yesterday, urged the authorities in countries affected by the ebola outbreak to screen people departing international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop those with symptoms of the virus from leaving. “Affected countries are requested to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. Any person with an illness consistent with Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation,” the UN health agency said.
Our meat has no Ebola – Oyo State Bushmeat Sellers Association
On the flip side, scores of bush meat sellers, yesterday, marched peacefully to Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s office at the Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan, complaining of low patronage due to the outbreak of ebola disease. The women under the aegis of Bushmeat Sellers Association lamented that since the announcement that the deadly disease could be caused by eating bush meat, their sales had suffered a lull.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Alhaja Risikat Odeyemi, Iyalode, Bushmeat Association, Oyo, said that it was strange that bush meat which had hitherto been taken as a special delicacy should now be seen as a poison. Her words: “Our meats do not have any Ebola virus. We don’t know why people should just be peddling rumour that would be injurious to other people. This is not good at all. They have spoilt our business without any good reason. What we heard is that the disease was contacted through the river. Why should they be so unfair?”
They said before the announcement, a grass cutter was being sold between N2,000 and N4,000 and the same thing goes for antelope and other animals. But, now they regretted that there are no sales again. “We normally stand by the roadside to invite prospective buyers. But, now when we call them to buy bush meats they always reply us saying, “Ebola”. It is the same meat we have been eating and nothing has happened to us”, Odeyemi said.
Their visit to the governor’s office, she added, was to appeal to him to help dispel the rumour that bush meat causes Ebola. At the time our correspondent left the governor’s office, the governor was yet to attend to them. Many of the bush meat sellers sat clumsily at the entrance of the gate because the security men at the gate did not allow them to move closer to the governor’s office.
US to deploy 100 medical personnel to West Africa
The United States Government has announced the deployment of 100 medical personnel to help in the fight against the Ebola Virus outbreak in some parts of West Africa. U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, AU, Mr Reuben Brigety stated this in Addis Ababa at an information-sharing session on Ebola at the AU Permanent Representatives Committee, PRC.
Brigety said the U.S will deploy 25 medical doctors and 75 nurses to the four countries affected by the virus, including Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. He, however, said the deployment to the ebola-affected countries was subject to AU approval, as the U.S government was ready to assist. The envoy advised African countries to also send doctors and medical personnel to provide the services needed to tackle the disease in the affected countries.
At the session, Japan announced that it had donated $1.5 million dollars to the World Health Organization fund toward fighting the virus.
Why we rejected Nanosilver —Chukwu
In Abuja, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, explained, yesterday, that the Ebola drug, Nanosilver was rejected for failing to meet required standards. Chukwu who spoke while receiving the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, in audience, said the drug did not meet basic research requirements of the National Health Research Ethics Code.
In his remarks, the ambassador disclosed that the U.S experimental drug on ebola was not sufficient to be given to Nigeria and, therefore, urged the nation to focus on isolation, screening and prevention, adding, “You have all seen the headlines over the weekend, this is an issue that we have to keep working hard on, it may be with us for a while but there are some encouraging sign.
“Your government is doing a good job on contact tracing, I noticed when I flew back here on Thursday night into the country, and before I left the plane I filled the questionnaire. I was very impressed because I had to put in my seat number which is a very good idea, so that if you have to trace the guy who was seating next to me you will know where I am. I have been very impressed by this thing so I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it, which I know they will.”