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Liberia hospital looting furthers fears of Ebola spread

In this August 16, 2014 photo, health workers are handed personal protective gear by a team leader, right, before collecting the bodies of the deceased from streets in Liberian capital Monrovia. Officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine centre for suspected patients.

In this August 16, 2014 photo, health workers are handed personal protective gear by a team leader, right, before collecting the bodies of the deceased from streets in Liberian capital Monrovia. Officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine centre for suspected patients.   | Photo Credit: Abbas Dulleh

Residents of Monrovia's largest slum raided a quarantine centre and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.

Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine centre for suspected patients and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.

The violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought from other parts of the capital to the holding centre, Tolbert Nyenswah, Assistant Health Minister, said on Sunday. It was not immediately clear how many patients had been at the center.

West Point residents went on a “looting spree,” stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief the press. The residents took mattresses, sheets and blankets that had bloodstains, which could spread the infection.

The incident raises fears of new infections in Liberia, which was already struggling to contain the outbreak.

Liberian police restored order to the West Point neighbourhood, which is home to an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 poor Liberians. Health officials say they fear the looting incident will spread Ebola infections in the capital, Monrovia.

Ebola has killed 1,145 people in West Africa, including 413 in Liberia, according to the World Health Organisation.

In East Africa, the Kenyan government took steps to prevent the disease from spreading. Kenya will bar passengers travelling from three West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak, closing a debate in East Africa’s economic powerhouse about whether the national airline was exposing the country to the deadly disease.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:51:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/liberia-hospital-looting-furthers-fears-of-ebola-spread/article6326174.ece

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