MONROVIA - The Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Morris Dukuly, has disclosed that a Liberian has died of the deadly Ebola virus in Morocco.
The Ebola virus, which has no cure, has killed at least 129 people here, and claimed more than 670 lives across the region. A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital died recently, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control.
Also recently, an official of the Ministry of Finance identified as Patrick Sawyer died of the disease at a Lagos hospital.
As a means of containing further spread of the disease, President Johnson-Sirleaf set up a taskforce to help in the fight of the disease and ordered the closure of the country’s three land borders.
The Liberian leader also ordered that public gatherings be restricted and communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak be quarantined.
Making the disclosure at a news conference held at the Ministry on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Minister Dukuly, who is also the Vice Chairman on the National Ebola Taskforce, further disclosed that the deceased left the country two days before his death.
Although Minister Dukuly did not disclose the name of the Liberian, who he said died of Ebola in Morocco, he averred that this means that there are many more people who are carrying the disease unknowingly.
Against this backdrop, the Internal Affairs Ministry boss called on traditional chiefs to help inform their local people on the threat of the deadly disease.
“You, traditional chiefs, are the owners of the land, and the land is under threat that I have not seen in my life before,” said Minister Dukuly.
“Tell your people to stop running behind health workers. This may cause them to leave. For instance, Samaritan Purse, one of the partners, wanted to leave Lofa County due to threats they received from local people,” he warned.
While urging the chiefs to adequately inform their people, he reminded them that Ebola is real and does not have to claim more lives before people get to believe it.
“We have a common challenge, which seems to be growing. This challenge is Ebola, and we need to fight it. Since the disease was discovered in March of this year,” he noted.
He then lauded the Country Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije for his care shown since the outbreak of the disease in March.
According to him, WHO through Dr. Ndayimirije has provided technical and other supports towards the fight of the disease in the country.
Speaking briefly, WHO Country boss, Dr. Ndayimirije said the disease can be prevented if people observe the necessary precautionary measures.
He disclosed that Ebola has killed 166 people since its outbreak.
Of this number, he said, over 20 health workers have died, while over 45 more are being affected by the disease.
Dr. Ndayimirije also disclosed that a total of 329 cases have been reported since the outbreak of the disease.
“You are the local leaders, tell your people to please support health workers and not to chase them. Samaritan Purse on yesterday said it will not continue because its workers were attacked and chased in Lofa with one of their staff wounded in the process in Foya. Please tell them to stop playing with dead bodies,” he warned.
For his part, the Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL), Chief Zanzar Karwor, accepted the request from government and its partners to help in the campaign.
However, he urged that the government shows videos of patients and people who have died from the virus.