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Ellen regrets initial Ebola approach

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaPresident Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has regretted that there would have been not a single further case, if an Ebola-infected person was put in isolation from the onset of the outbreak “to stop person-to-person transmission.”

“We now know that Ebola can only be transmitted from person-to-person. So, all that is needed is stop person-to-person transmission- put the person in isolation, and ensure that the people caring for them are wearing protective equipment. If that had happened last December, there would not have been a single further case… that did not happen,” she said.

In a nationwide address aired live on state radio ELBC Wednesday night, President Sirleaf recalled that Ebola was first noticed in a small Guinean village in December 2013, but was not confirmed by world experts for three and a half months.

According to President Sirleaf, to date, Liberia now records 1,328 Ebola related deaths since the virus spreads here from Guinea and Sierra Leone, leading a wide margin compared to the two other badly affected Mano River Union countries.

But in the midst of the unfolding circumstances here, President Sirleaf expressed the belief that Liberia was stronger than the greatest threat with which “we are currently facing,” saying “we will prevail.”

She said the government will do everything that can be done, including seeking every solution that can be sought and to spare no effort in defeating “our common enemy,” Ebola. President Sirleaf, who Chairs the National Consultative Group  on Ebola, said Liberia was just starting to walk its way out of poverty at the time when Ebola struck.

“To date, the number of those affected by the disease has been disheartening. There has been a total of 2,535 cumulative cases which include confirmed, probable and suspected cases,” she said.

Of the number, President Sirleaf said, a total of 1,328 have died, and a total of 170 cumulative health workers has also been affected with 82 cumulative deaths, respectively. As such, she said, the government was responding to over 100 children made orphans by the disaster.

But while informing the public that 300 plus Ebola patients have recovered from treatment and gone home, President Sirleaf expressed the hope that Liberia will not meet expert’s projections; with the believe that the worst case scenario could only occur here if Liberia did not take the required actions, stressing that  her administration was making good progress on building the critical infrastructure needed to alleviate poverty here, and was poised to turn investment into operations so as to create jobs.

She further said that significant progress was made in reforming the educational and health systems here; and that Liberia has grown up to eleven airlines flying to Roberts International Airport or RIA weekly.

We were building roads, expanding access to electricity, reducing infant and maternal mortality; we have to return to those tasks. Even as we work to defeat this unseen enemy, we must do so with our eyes towards the future,” President Sirleaf admonished citizens.

She said: “We need to press the play button, but everything is on pause at the moment,” adding that government needed to respond to the families of deceased health workers and also get back to the work of building roads and power plants to attract more investors.

“We need to get on with the business to stimulate and strengthen the growing private sector with emphasis on promoting Liberian entrepreneurship. There is only one choice for us- to pull out of this, we must fight back,” said President Sirleaf.

President Sirleaf finally appreciated partners’ support, including the United States President Barack Obama and his people for scaling up support for Liberia, saying government remains in touch with the leadership of the United Nations to take similar steps and join the fight.

The Liberian President concluded that partners and financial institutions have not let Liberia down under this outbreak, saying the World Bank, the African Development Bank and European Commission, which support Liberia’s Ebola response, “will also be with us in our war to restore economic social services.”

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