News / Africa

Liberia, Sierra Leone Deploy Troops to Contain Ebola

A Liberian soldier stops people at a security checkpoint set up to clamp down on people trying to travel to the capital from rural areas hard-hit by the Ebola virus, on the outskirts of Monrovia, Aug. 7, 2014.
A Liberian soldier stops people at a security checkpoint set up to clamp down on people trying to travel to the capital from rural areas hard-hit by the Ebola virus, on the outskirts of Monrovia, Aug. 7, 2014.
Anne Look

Liberia and Sierra Leone are reporting hundreds of confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.

With public health systems overrun, both countries have declared states of emergency and sent security forces to quarantine affected areas, setting up roadblocks and taking other measures to limit people's movements as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

In Liberia, they are calling it "Operation White Shield."

Information Minister Lewis Brown says checkpoints are already being established.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan sits next to Keiji Fukuda, WHO's Assistant Director-General for health security after an emergency meeting. The WHO announced that West Africa's epidemic of Ebola is an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk, in Geneva, Aug. 8, 2014.
  • This undated photo made available by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, shows the Ebola virus viewed through an electron microscope. The World Health Organization on Aug. 8, 2014 declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.
  • An ambulance transporting Miguel Pajares, a Spanish priest who was infected with the Ebola virus while working in Liberia, leaves the Military Air Base of Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid, Spain, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • Aid workers and doctors transfer Miguel Pajares from a plane to an ambulance as he leaves the Torrejon de Ardoz military airbase, near Madrid, Spain, Aug. 7, 2014.
  • A Nigerian port health official uses a thermometer on a worker at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
  • An ambulance carrying American missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, who is infected with Ebola in West Africa arrives past crowds of people taking pictures at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 5, 2014.
  • Nigeria health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 4, 2014. 
  • Nigeria health officials display a leaflet explaining the Ebola virus, at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 4, 2014. 
  • Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, are seen in an undated photo provided by Samaritan's Purse. Brantly became the first person infected with Ebola to be brought to the United States from Africa, arriving at Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, Aug. 2, 2014. 
  • People queue outside a bank as fear spreads that public buildings might be closed due to the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 4, 2014. 

​"Unless it is absolutely necessary, individuals in all affected counties are strongly advised to remain in their counties and continue to take the necessary preventive measures announced by the health experts," he added.

Border region

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The goal is to seal off at least four affected counties in the north and west of the country and the borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone.
 
Defense Minister Brownie Samukai says the soldiers "will have positions along the border to ensure that there is no further entry of any persons who may be suspected or for whatever health reasons is determined by those on the ground not to cross the border."
 
Health authorities say sick people and people who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus need to stop moving around and infecting new areas.
 
Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have security forces guarding Ebola treatment centers and health workers.
 
Sierra Leone sent its army to enforce what the government says will be a complete blockade of the Kenema and Kailahun districts on the country's eastern border with Liberia and Guinea.
 
A VOA reporter in Kenema says security forces are blocking cars from going in and out of affected areas there. Soldiers are also expected to start foot patrols.
 
Between the two of them, Liberia and Sierra Leone are setting out to monitor people's movements in and out of more than 16,000 square kilometers.
 
No cure

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ebola has no cure but about 40 percent of those infected in this outbreak are surviving with medical care. An infected person isn't contagious until the symptoms such as fever and vomiting begin. It can take up to three weeks for those symptoms to appear once a person catches the virus, either through bush meat or the bodily fluids of an Ebola patient.

So even if security forces succeed in sealing off the most affected zones in these two countries, the 21-day incubation period means that new cases could continue to crop up in coming weeks.  
 
The Liberian government says security forces will extend quarantine measures to additional areas as needed.  
 
The governments of both countries have warned citizens that things could get worse before they get better.

Prince Collins reported from Monrovia. Patrick Jakema reported from Kenema, Sierra Leone.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid