Ebola crisis: Liberia reopens borders, lifts curfew

Story highlights

  • President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also lifted a nationwide curfew imposed in August
  • Her orders go into effect Sunday

(CNN)Liberia reopened its land border crossings shut down during the Ebola outbreak, a positive sign in a nation that was the epicenter of the deadly virus.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also lifted a nationwide curfew imposed in August to help combat the virus. Her orders, which went into effect Sunday, come the same week schools reopened after a five-month hiatus.
The virus has killed about 9,365 people mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.
    In October, the World Health Organization said the number of new cases in Liberia was declining, with fewer burials, plateauing lab confirmations and less-cramped hospitals.

    Declining numbers

    In its most recent update, the WHO reported two new confirmed cases in Liberia for the week ending on February 15. In contrast, a total of 52 new cases were reported in Guinea while Sierra Leone had 74.
    Liberia closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea in July in response to the outbreak. Those borders will reopen Sunday, Johnson Sirleaf said.
    Though the President expressed optimism, she warned against complacency.
    "The ministry of health has been requested to ensure the adoption and implementation of health protocols that will prevent the importation of the virus through any of the crossing points," she said in a statement. "Members of the joint security assigned at the borders are mandated to work closely with the health authorities to ensure adherence to the health protocols and safety at all times."
    Ebola is spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.