Ebola-free Liberia pledges support to remaining 2 Ebola-hit countries

May 13, 2015 5:42 am 

MONROVIA, May 12 — Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has pledged to work with the remaining two Ebola-hit countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, to achieve the position that Liberia has reached after the country was declared free of Ebola on Saturday.

A official statement reaching Xinhua on Tuesday said Sirleaf made the pledge at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion after she was officially presented the declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia by the World Health Organization (WHO).

She said Liberia will begin to take a regional approach to share information, talents and experiences with the other two affected countries, adding that in the coming weeks Liberia will intensify efforts in this regard as the country is still at risk as the Ebola virus disease is still active in the two neighboring countries.

Presenting the declaration, WHO Representative Alex Gasasira said Liberia has interrupted transmission of the Ebola virus and 42 days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried on March 28, and the criteria established by WHO has been met.

The WHO Representative said the interruption of the transmission is a monumental achievement for a country that reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976.

Gasasira however warned that transmission persists in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone creating a high risk that infected people may cross into Liberia.

Togo's President of Togo Faure Essozimna Gnassingb, who is also the Ebola Coordinator of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), congratulated Liberia for achieving this milestone.

"It was a real historic success," he said, but warned that Liberians should not ignore the fact that Ebola is a public health problem that has a lot of human loss because health systems were not strong enough.

He said Liberians have demonstrated that this public health crisis is not a fatality, but it can be overcome if all work together as the people of Liberia demonstrated.

The Togolese president said the celebrations going on would not have been possible without the participation of the international partners who mobilized themselves and resources in order to put logistics in place.

Ghanaian Foreign Minister Hanna Serwaa Tetteh urged "those countries that up until now have closed their borders to Liberia, it's time to open them" adding that Liberia will not be able to achieve the reconstruction if this "semi-isolation" continues. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/SSC

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