Gbarnga Faces Quarantine

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Cogent information filtering in from central Liberia suggests that the Bong County Health Team is poised to quarantine the provincial capital, Gbarnga, if the trend of suspected Ebola deaths throughout the city continues as it has in recent days.

Just this week, a total of ten suspected Ebola deaths occurred from the Civil Compound and the Millionaire communities of Gbarnga, Bong County. In at least one case, it was an entire household.

Speaking to the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity, a senior member of the County Health Team said that although there was no Ebola test conducted on the dead, the circumstances under which the persons died, it is almost impossible to rule out hemorrhagic fever.

“The manner and form people in which people are expiring in the city in recent days has created panic among the residents, including the County Health Team; so the Team has to take some actions to protect others who have not fallen prey to the disease,” the official said.

The Senior Health Official explained that the quarantine exercise will serve as a means to contain the spread of the disease in the city and its environs.  

“With the number of deaths in recent days in the city, the County Health Team is troubled, so we have to do everything in our power to discontinue the increase of infections in other communities.”

The official told this paper that one of the underlying reasons for the increase in deaths in recent times is the entrenched culture of silence on the part of Liberians; something he said is going to harm everyone.

As a result, the health official said, the County Health Team is finding it tremendously difficult to fight the Ebola virus in the city.  Also, suspected Ebola virus carriers are not willing to be quarantined or to report to the health facilities for early check up.

When the Daily Observer sampled the views of ordinary citizens on the purported information, there were mixed reactions. Some welcomed the idea of quarantine, while others described it as harsh and a violation of human rights.

Some of the citizens argued that the quarantining of the city will impose economic hardship to the already impoverished residents, especially given the current State of Emergency where some business people have already hiked prices of their commodities.  Others argued that the action will help to restrict the movement of people who are suspected carriers of the Ebola virus.

It has been established by this paper that entertainment centers in the city are virtually without customers due to the alarming death toll in Gbarnga suspectedly from the Ebola virus.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Gbarnga have called on the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to provide the necessary protective materials to the various hospitals to enable the health workers return to duty and resume services. Residents agree that the deadly Ebola virus exists but are also concerned that other people are also being killed by curable diseases such as malaria due to the closure of the two main hospitals in Bong County.  

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