Due to the drastic decline in the rate of infections from the Ebola virus, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered the curfew, which she imposed on August 20th, 2014 to be lifted yesterday. The President had readjusted the curfew back in September from 12 midnight to 6 a.m. Last night all curfew checkpoints were expected to disappear.
President Sirleaf also ordered that all international borders be opened as of yesterday.
President Sirleaf gave the orders minutes before she boarded the flight for the Middle East and USA following nearly seven months during which she remained in the country leading the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the President’s decision was based on the advice of the National Security Council of Liberia.
The nationwide curfew and border closure were imposed as a part of several measures meant to contain the further spread of the EVD and ensure national security.
The President has, meanwhile, requested the Ministry of Health to ensure the adoption and implementation of health protocols that will prevent the importation of the virus through any of the crossing points, while members of the Joint Security assigned at the borders are mandated to work closely with the health authorities to ensure adherence to the health protocols and safety at all times.
Ebola Red Alert
The Ministry of Health’s latest daily Ebola situation report (Sitrep) no. 279 for 18th February shows that Montserrado and Margibi Counties remain on the red alert due to the presence of confirmed Ebola cases.
As of February 18, Margibi was reported to have 1 confirmed Ebola case, while Montserrado, where the nation’s capital city Monrovia is located, had at least seven confirmed cases. The two are now the only territories out of Liberia’s 15 counties with confirmed Ebola cases, according to the Health Ministry.
Montserrado’s seven cases, according to sitrep, are from New Kru Town where the Redemption Hospital is located. It is at this hospital that the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia (PREVAIL) is conducting the trials of two vaccines for Ebola prevention.
Both Montserrado and Margibi, which are neighbors and strategically located along the Atlantic Ocean, are major passage ways for commuters and travelers heading into the northern, western and southeastern regions of Liberia.
Of the nearly 4,000 persons who have reportedly died so far in Liberia from the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), more than 2,100 have died in Montserrado alone, with Margibi recording over 580 fatalities.
With the two being the only places with confirmed Ebola cases, it is likely that the death toll in both counties might rise as there is yet no known cure for the virus, which has so far claimed more than 9,100 lives in six of the nine countries in which the 2014 outbreak was reported.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads the World Health Organization's (WHO) official Ebola response, said data showed that the steep decrease in infections had now flattened at a rate of around 120 to 150 new cases a week in the three main hit nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
"It's what keeps me up at night right now," Dr. Aylward said. "This is not what you want to see with Ebola," the BBC reports Dr. Aylward as saying.