Fifth Ebola Update

From all indications – as per the reports we are getting from local and international entities, including our own Health Ministry – the spread of the virus is reducing remarkably. And everybody is happy – but cautiously happy – about it. Not only is the number of new cases per day dropping, but the predictions by the international community that there could be thousands of new cases per week by December is also not happening.

Washing hands regularly helps to prevent the spread of Ebola

Washing hands regularly helps to prevent the spread of Ebola

Significant Improvements

  • The Deputy Health Ministry Tolbert Nyenswah told the country today that there are about 50 to 100 suspected cases per day across the country. Before, it used to be about 600 to 700 cases per day across the nation.
  • Besides, he indicated that the number of new confirmed cases per day is between 10 and 15, saying that in August, it was about 100.
  • He then encouraged Liberians to swiftly and happily take their sick or infected relatives to the ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit) because there is significant improvement in the care of patients and because there are empty bed spaces at the various ETUs, including between 300 and 400 empty bed spaces in Monrovia alone.
  • Health workers, especially nurses, are one of the groups highly hit by the virus, as many of them lost their lives in the process. However, the Deputy Minister said that in the last two weeks, the number of nurses affected by the virus is at zero.

Construction of More Ebola Treatment Units

Meanwhile, the government and its international partners continue to construct ETUs across the country. It is said that the plan is to build about 10 – 100 ETUs in each county.

The United States government just completed and turned over an ETU in Bomi County. The same USA completed another ETU in Congo Town (at the new Defense Ministry site), which the government has begun to use. Six Ebola patients are being treated there, but the facility can accommodate about 200 persons. The US has also completed a 25-bedroom ETU for local and international health workers who may contract the disease while helping Liberians.

Another ETU is being constructed at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (commonly called SKD) by China, WHO and WFP.

New Cases

There are reports of dangerous new outbreaks in certain parts of the country – Grand Capa Mount County, between Gbarpolu and Bon Counties, Logan Town in Montserrado, Guhzon in Rivercess County, etc. over 40 persons are quarantined in Johnson and food were distributed to them yesterday.

Deputy Minister Nyenswah said that although the virus is reducing in Monrovia, there is more active transmission of the virus throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Emergency Ebola Program has warned Liberians against early celebration, as the virus is still in the country.

Three Phases of Ebola Management and Control

The Deputy Minister told the nation that they have divided their Ebola management in three phases. According to him, Phase One occurred when the virus was rising and spreading rapidly, like in August and September, which has reduced. Phase Two is what the country is experiencing at the moment – pockets of hot spots, outbreaks in the rural parts, etc, which may go on for a while. And Phase Three which will be the time when there is zero case of Ebola in the country.

Additional Signs of Improvement (?)

During the height of the Ebola crisis, the government told many of its employees to stay at home, calling them “non-essential” staff. Yesterday, the government started calling back some of these people, asking them to return to work immediately.

Also, the Ministry of Education is instructing the administrators/administrations of all public schools to go to work on their various campuses daily and to also begin repairing classroom chairs and desks. Although no specific announcement has been made about the exact date for the re-opening of schools, the general perception is that this may happen anytime next month or in January.

We promise to keep you informed.

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