MONROVIA. — Riots broke out in Monrovia after the government quarantined Liberia’s biggest slum in an effort to curb the Ebola epidemic, local newspaper Front Page Africa reported yesterday. Residents clashed with armed security guards and police officers, who had cordoned off the West Point slum, home to an estimated 75 000 residents.
Officers also blocked off the Waterside Market, one of the Liberian capital’s key market places, due to its proximity to the slum.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf order the area quarantined after 37 Ebola patients fled an isolation ward at the weekend.
West Point residents had broken into the quarantine centre on Saturday and freed the patients, who were suspected of being infected with the virus.
The president also imposed a curfew between 9pm and 6am.
This comes after reports of dead bodies being dumped on the streets at night, as overburdened authorities struggle to collect corpses.
Johnson Sirleaf also ordered the town of Dolo’s, on Liberia’s north coast, be quarantined.
“It has become necessary to impose additional sanctions to curb the spread (of Ebola) overall and particularly in those areas of intensity,” said Johnson Sirleaf.
Many Liberians continued to deny the existence of Ebola and disregarded prevention measures, she said.
Liberia has reported 834 Ebola cases, according to the WHO. Of those, 466 have died.
Nigeria’s toll from Ebola meanwhile hit five as another death was reported, according to the local newspaper
Vanguard, while Liberia imposed a night curfew and quarantined its largest slum. Nigerian doctor Ameyo Stella Adadevoh contracted the virus while treating Liberian government consultant Patrick Sawyer, the first person to die of Ebola in Nigeria, said Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.
“(Adadevoh was) one of the primary contacts… the most senior doctor who participated in the management of (Sawyer),” Chukwu added.
Nigeria has reported 15 suspected or confirmed Ebola cases, according to the World Health Organization, while almost 170 further patients were under observation.
In West Africa, 2 240 suspected or confirmed cases and 1 229 deaths have been reported, the WHO reported.
The current outbreak is caused by the most lethal strain in the family of Ebola viruses.
Ebola causes massive haemorrhaging and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. It is transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids. — Sapa