Ebola outbreak: Families of Liberia victims 'leaving bodies to rot in streets' to avoid quarantine
Drastic measures have been brought in to stop the spread of the deadly disease
Friday 08 August 2014
Relatives of Ebola victims in Liberia are leaving bodies rotting in the streets because of fears about being quarantined, according to officials.
More than 280 people have so far died of the disease in the country, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency last week.
Tough new powers to crack down on Ebola include the decontamination of victims’ homes, monitoring relatives and quarantine.
People have reportedly been seen dragging bodies into the streets rather than facing the emergency measures in the capital of Monrovia, which is still scared by the civil war that ended in 2003.
Soldiers were deployed to Lofa County on Monday to start isolating affected communities and authorities are cremating bodies after local communities opposed burials near homes because of infection fears.
With less than half of those infected surviving the disease, many Africans regard Ebola isolation wards as death traps.
Samaritan's Purse medical personnel spray disinfectant on a person who died from the Ebola virus in the Case Management Center in Foya, Liberia Liberia’s Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said people were removing bodies of disease victims from their homes to avoid the crackdown, increasing the chances of it spreading further.
“They're exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated," he told Reuters.
"We're asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and we'll pick them up."
Although he hoped it “will not require excessive force”, Mr Brown said authorities would do whatever they could to restrict the movement of people trying to flee infected areas.
Liberia is one of four countries affected by an outbreak of the deadly virus, which has so far killed 932 people in West Africa according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.
Liberia immigration officers wearing protective gloves inspect the travel documents at a border post with Sierra Leone, 30 July (EPA) Ebola, which begins with flu-like symptoms and can lead to horrific external and internal bleeding, is deadly in the majority of cases and has no known cure.
As of 4 August, 1,711 cases of the disease have been confirmed, with 363 deaths in Guinea, 282 in Liberia, 286 in Sierra Leone and one – a nurse – in Nigeria.
Saudi Arabia has also announced one death of a person with Ebola-like symptoms.
The outbreak started in Guinea in March and is showing no sign of slowing, spreading fastest in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The three countries announced a raft of measures last week to contain the disease, shutting schools and imposing quarantines on victims’ homes, amid fears the incurable virus would overrun healthcare systems in one of the world's poorest regions.
A spokesman for WHO said the organisation was working with national health authorities on informing the public about dangers of handling dead bodies and training Red Cross teams to conduct safe burials.
Additional reporting by Reuters
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...