It's very early Monday morning in Liberia, but The New Dawn has a report posted: West Pointers loot Ebola unit. The full report:
A center built to quarantine Ebola patients in West Point, a densely populated slum community in Monrovia was attacked and looted Saturday evening by protesters.
Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services, Tolbert Nyensuah told journalists here on Sunday that the protesters, mainly angry residents of the slum community burglarized and looted the Ebola holding unit, while securities played cool to avoid casualties.
A minimum of about 22 persons was being held at the West Point holding unit that is meant to contain persons suspected to have Ebola symptoms, but are yet to be confirmed of the disease, and about 20 were said to have fled during the burglary.
However, Nyensuah said the West Point Township Commissioner who had earlier identified and reported the Ebola suspects to the Ministry would help in tracing them. Mr. Nyensuah said the angry rioters instilled fears and looted the unit when they saw that health team had carried food for the Ebola suspects.
He said just as health workers are not immune to the Ebola disease, police too are not immune of being infected, and as such, they had to avoid any direct contact with the rioters or the use of maximum force for fear of casualties. In a related development, Mr. Nyensuah says Liberia is now making progress in its response to the Ebola crisis, with the opening of 120 bed capacity to treat Ebola patients at the “ELWA-3”
He says confirmed Ebola cases will be handled at the ELWA-3 to de-crowd the ELWA-2, where he says Ebola and non-Ebola related cases will be thoroughly screened. Currently, he says, about 77 patients are being held at the ELWA- 2, while the ELWA with 120 capacities could be expanded to 300 beds in the next one or two weeks.
He said “the ELWA-3 is being fully supported by MSF and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,” adding that MSF will provide staff and medical supplies. Further, Mr. Nyensuah said on Sunday that the government referral Hospital John F. Kennedy Hospital Ebola Unit has been opened, and as at Saturday, five patients had been admitted there.
He boasted that the JFK Ebola Center with 40 bed capacity is “fully staff,” and at the JFK, he says suspected and probable cases will be sorted out before integrating those Ebola negative into the regular JFK services that are being provided right now.
At the JFK alone, he says there is a total of 40 staff that includes two Ugandan doctors and one Liberian doctor that will provide supervision; seven nurses, support staffs, sprayers, and security. He recalled that the JDJ [James Davis] and Redemption Hospitals are reopened and are providing services. Meanwhile, Minister Nyensuah said more new cases are emerging here.
The World Health Organization or WHO representative to Liberia said Ebola will continue here as long as Liberians are not taking the messages and continue to touch dead bodies, infected persons, among others. Health experts say that the solution to ending the Ebola outbreak is to stop it spreading in Liberia, where ignorance about the virus is high and many people are reluctant to cooperate with medical staff.