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 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO's one simple test for who to hire
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...