Ebola crisis: Liberia reopens borders, lifts curfew

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also lifted a nationwide curfew imposed in August

Her orders go into effect Sunday

CNN  — 

The fight against Ebola in Liberia got some welcome news – with a little caution.

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.

About 3,900 of the deaths have been in Liberia, which was so badly affected, it declared a shortage of body bags last year.

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.

Though health experts expressed optimism, they warned that the latest observation does not mean Ebola is under control in Liberia. The virus has the potential to appear in waves, which can be mistaken for declining cases.

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. The push for vaccines came as new cases of Ebola were confirmed in New York and Mali, the latter the first case in that nation.

Complete coverage on Ebola

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