The Liberia-Guinea border, which was recently announced closed due to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, is said to still be opened to the public and that normal cross-border activities are ongoing.
When this reporter visited the border post on Friday and Saturday last week, normal cross-border activities were ongoing, with little or no sign of Ebola prevention practices being enforced.
“We first received a mandate from the Justice Ministry through the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) to close the border; then after two days in the same week, we were told to open the border,” said an immigration officer assigned at the border.
On Sunday, March 20, Liberia border with Guinea was immediately shut down without any notice to the public after news of another outbreak of Ebola in Guinea was announced.
Business people and other travelers who had gone to Guinea were stranded at the border returning to Liberia, while many others lost business during the closure.
Many Guinean vehicles loaded with commodities were seen at the Liberian side, bound for Guinea; but there was no sign that those traveling in and out are going through proper screening before entering either side of the border.
There are speculations in Ganta that those who were said to have died from Ebola, died from drinking water in which a poisonous lizard had died in a Guinean town; that they were not Ebola-related deaths.
“The Guineans said there is no Ebola in their country,” remarked a police officer assigned at the border.
“They said those that died, died from drinking water that a poisonous lizard fell in.”
“16 family members once died from such a condition a long time ago, when a poisonous lizard fell in their tea,” another person buttressed the sentiment.
Ganta has numerous porous borders with Guinea which, if not monitored vigilantly, pose serious health and security risks as long as the Ebola virus persists in that neighboring country.