The relatives of Ebola victims in Liberia resist government orders and dumped dead bodies in the street as West African government attempt to enforce measures to curb an outbreak of the virus that has killed at least 887 people.
Nigeria recorded its first death of Ebola in late July and according to the authorities in Lagos, eight people came in contact with the deceased Liberia-US citizen, Patrick Sawyer, were showing signs of the deadly disease.
The outbreak was detected in March in the remote forest regions of Guinea, where the death toll is rising in neighboring countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The authorities deployed troops to quarantine the border areas where 70 per cent of cases have been detected.
Those three countries announced a raft of tough measures last week to contain the disease, shutting schools and imposing quarantines on victim’s homes, amid fears the incurable virus would overrun healthcare systems.
In Liberia’s ramshackle ocean-front capital Monrovia, still scarred by a 1989-2003 civil war, relatives of Ebola victims were dragging bodies onto the dirt streets rather than face quarantine, officials said.
The Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said some people may be alarmed by regulations imposing the decontamination of victims’ homes and tracking of their friends and relatives.
With less than half of those infected surviving the disease, many Africans regard Ebola isolation wards as death traps.
They are therefore removing the bodies from their homes and are putting them out in the street and exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated,” Brown said “We’re asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and we’ll pick them up.”
According to Brown, authorities had begun cremating bodies on Sunday, after local communities opposed burials in their neighborhoods, and had carried out 12 cremations on Monday.
Meanwhile, in the border region of Lofa County, troops were deployed on Monday night to start isolating effected communities.
The Finance Minister said the country’s growth forecast for the year was no longer looking realistic as a result of the outbreak.
Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Samura Kamara, also said that the virus had cost the government $10 million so far and was hampering efforts to stimulate growth.