Liberia is bracing for an upsurge in Ebola cases, following a grim World Health Organization assessment on Tuesday that the worst is yet to come in the fight against the killer virus.
While the WHO predicted an “exponential increase” in infections across West Africa, it warned that Liberia, which has reaped the lion’s share of misery with half of all fatalities, could initially only hope to slow contagion, not stop it.
The UN’s health arm upped the Ebola death toll Tuesday in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria to 2,288 out of 4,269 cases, noting nearly half of all infections had occurred in the past 21 days.
The WHO also evacuated its second infected medical expert, a doctor had been working at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone. …
In the scramble to halt the contagion, some affected countries have quarantined whole regions. Several countries have stopped flights from affected areas.
African Union commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called Monday for travel bans to be lifted “to open up economic activities”.
But other countries have stepped up limits on the movement of people travelling from West Africa. China, one of the region’s main investors, on Tuesday announced it was reinforcing checks on people, goods and vehicles, as well as mail, arriving from affected countries.
In Gambia, customs officials said they had closed the borders to Guineans, Liberians, Nigerians and Sierra Leoneans — though not to neighbouring Senegal.