Liberia lifts nationwide Ebola curfew as infection rates remain low

World Today

Liberia said Friday it was lifting nationwide curfews and re-opening borders shut last year at the height of the Ebola crisis, after the retreat of an epidemic that has killed thousands.

The move comes with Liberia and its neighbors Guinea and Sierra Leone seeing new infections drop to a tenth of the numbers being reported at the September-October peak of the outbreak.
There are also plans to reopen its borders.

CCTV’s Katerina Vittozzi reported this story from Accra, Ghana.

Liberia lifts nationwide Ebola curfew as infection rates remain low

Liberia lifts nationwide Ebola curfew as infection rates remain low

Liberia said Friday it was lifting nationwide curfews and re-opening borders shut last year at the height of the Ebola crisis, after the retreat of an epidemic that has killed thousands. The move comes with Liberia and its neighbours Guinea and Sierra Leone seeing new infections drop to a tenth of the numbers being reported at the September-October peak of the outbreak. There are also plans to reopen its borders. Katerina Vittozzi reported this story from Accra, Ghana.

Liberians have struggled with emergency laws that restricted when and where they could travel.

Seven months ago, the government ordered residents to stay in their homes during the night until 6am.

Major land border crossings with Sierra Leone and Guinea were closed.

It made life tough for people who earned a living moving around the region such as market traders and those who transported goods.

“Life is getting very difficult. Now some of us have to move around, buy something from the market, ride motorbikes and do other activities,” Resident Philip Tamba said. “Now the government is saying that everyone should remain home, everyone should stay at their various places. And now how to do you go and make your life We need to move around make life and make money. Because if you have money you can buy something to eat!”

At the time, health experts warned closing land borders would be counter-productive with Guinea and Sierra Leone’s long and porous borders.

The World Health Organization believed closing official border points would force people to find unofficial ones. This would make it difficult to track potential cases if they moved between countries. But in July 2014 the government ordered them shut, saying it would help contain the spread of the disease, which was at its peak.

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the decision to lift the curfew and open the main borders comes after discussion with the National Security Council. Liberia was the country worst-hit by Ebola but now, with infection rates dropping, attention is turning to rebuilding lives as well as the country’s economy.

The World Bank estimated that Ebola could cost Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone $6 billion in lost revenue.

The epidemic scared away many international investors, but the rolling back of restrictions may encourage them to return.

It also sends a positive signal to international airlines – the majority of which cancelled flights to the 3 worst-affected nations in 2014.


Chinese troops in Liberia earn UN Medals of Peace for fighting Ebola

In January, the UN awarded Medals of Peace to all 140 Chinese peacekeeping police officers for their contribution to fighting Ebola.

As the deadly disease ravaged the country, the Chinese police unit distributed protective suits to the locals and provided them with knowledge about protecting themselves against the virus.

They also established a medical center with two doctors and five nurses to help alleviate the pressure on the local government.

Jin Qiao reported this story.

Chinese troops in Liberia earn UN Medals of Peace for fighting Ebola

Chinese troops in Liberia earn UN Medals of Peace for fighting Ebola

In January, the UN awarded Medals of Peace to all 140 Chinese peacekeeping police officers for their contribution to fighting Ebola. As the deadly disease ravaged the country, the Chinese police unit distributed protective suits to the locals and provided them with knowledge about protecting themselves against the virus. They also established a medical center with two doctors and five nurses to help alleviate the pressure on the local government. Jin Qiao reported this story.

The Chinese riot police officers arrived in the west African country of Liberia in October 2014.

The officers were assigned to the the southeast Port City of Greenville to help maintain peace and stability for eight months.

The peacekeepers began their new year with daily routine patrols.

The United Nations’ peace-keeping mission in Liberia was established in 2003, following the Second Liberian Civil War. It consisted of up to 15,000 UN military personnel and Chinese troops have contributed in security, engineering, and medical services.

At 2 a.m. when the team wraps up their patrol, it’s time to have a rest and reward themselves with a grand festival meal.