Pres. Sirleaf: Hiding Ebola is Criminal

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MONROVIA, July 1 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sileaf has warned against concealing information about suspected Ebola cases, noting that it is illegal under Liberia’s public health law to expose other people to health hazards such as Ebola.

“Let this warning go out, anyone found or reported to be holding suspected Ebola cases in homes or prayer house will be prosecuted under the laws of Liberia, ” she said.

The President’s statement comes in the wake of recent resurgence of the Ebola virus in the country.

In a nationwide statement, she lamented that the disease has killed so many people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and still poses a threat to all, including health workers.

The latest Ministry of Health press statement issued Tuesday put the current number of Ebola patients at 96 out which 49 are reported to have died as at June 29.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf called on her compatriots to join hands in fighting the disease, saying “With God on our side, Liberia will win the fight against Ebola.”

She said most of the deaths are due to denial, touching dead bodies or participating in burial ceremonies and urged them to refrain from “touching dead bodies or body fluids or materials of infected Ebola persons.”

“Avoid direct physical contact, such as handshakes, kissing and direct contact with body fluids of infected or dead persons or animals, Sirleaf said.

The Liberian leader called on all Liberians to see the Ebola Epidemic as a national public health emergency, adding, “For those who do not believe that Ebola exists in Liberia, I want to inform all Liberians in this public manner that the disease is real and is in our country killing people.”

“As I speak, the disease is taking the lives of our citizens in Lofa, Montserrado, and now Margibi County,” she added.

The Liberian leader said government and partners have trained health workers, community health volunteers; established treatment centers in JFK, ELWA, Foya and Firestone hospitals.

She said government has also established Ebola testing center; social mobilization and psychosocial support; improved surveillance system and contact tracing.

“We will continue to do more. I call on you my fellow citizens to protect yourself, protect your family, and protect your community from this deadly Ebola virus, by taking all necessary precautions.”

“As the number of cases and deaths of Ebola Virus Disease continues to rise in our sub-region, we are all gravely concerned by the rate at which this cross border transmission is taking place.”