‘No Need To Panic’…Says Health Minister, As Liberia Loses Ebola-Free Status For New Case

By Antoinette Sendolo

Following the discovery of a new Ebola case in Margibi, the Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice Dahn has urged Liberians to remain vigilant against the virus and should not panic.   According to the Minister, though a new case of the virus has been reported, there is no need for Liberians to panic because the Ministry of Health and its partners are working collaboratively to ensure that the virus is contained.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing, Minister Dahn disclosed that on Monday June 29, the Ministry received report of a case of a seventeen-year old boy who died from the Ebola virus and was later buried by the Ebola burial team.

Minister Dahn said the Ministry is putting in place all necessary safety measures to ensure that no new case of the virus emerges from the recent outbreak noting that her team has started the contact tracing process to stop further spread of the virus.

She noted that the family of the recent Ebola victim has been contacted and the Ministry is doing all it could to provide the needed support in order to curtail the spread of the virus in that part of the country, adding that her team is prepared and equipped to stop the spread of the virus.

“We are well prepared to contain the spread of the virus because we know how Ebola spreads and how it can be stopped unlike last year when health workers did not know much about the virus because it was new to Liberia.” Minister Dahn noted.

Dr. Dahn stressed that there is a need for people who die from unknown sicknesses to be tested before being buried in order to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.

For his part, the head of the Incident Management System, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah said with the discovery of the new Ebola case, Liberia is no longer considered an Ebola free country and as such, people should continue to adhere to all the Ebola preventive measures.

Mr. Nyenswah disclosed that up to the time of the press conference, there was no information on where and how the seventeen-year old boy contracted the virus noting that the victim felt sick in Nenowieh community where he stayed with his mother and was later taken to his father in Smell no Taste in Margibi County.

He said though a new case of the virus has been reported, the government has no plans of closing its borders with neighboring Guinea and Sierra Lone where cases of the deadly Ebola virus are still being reported.

“The source of infections in both Guinea and Sierra Leone are far from Liberia’s borders so the issue of border-closure is not an option for us though it has been highly recommended by some individuals across the country.” Mr. Nyenswah said.

Mr. Nyenswah added that there are lots of safety measures put in place to deal with the current situation disclosing that the Ebola Treatment Unit in Margibi has been reactivated in order to treat patients in case of further infections.

Liberia was declared Ebola free on May 9 by the World Health Organization, following a period of forty- two days count down after the last Ebola case was discovered. After the pronouncement, many Liberians saw the situation as a victory for the country but the case seems different now with the outbreak of the latest Ebola case in the country.