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EU offloads anti-Ebola cargo – cautions against high risk re-infection

The Dutch government and eight other European Union member states have presented a cargo of anti-Ebola materials valued 3.6 million Euros, including two fully-equipped ambulances, laboratory, jumper delivery beds, body beds, protective suits, goggles, respiratory masks, and rubber boots, among others.

Notwithstanding the progress made against Ebola in Liberia, the Netherlands Ambassador to Liberia Hans Docter, warns that the disease is still going on in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Malia, “[and] so the risk of re-infection remains large.”

Besides, Liberia is already in a campaign period for Special Senatorial Election, and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says she sees “some relaxation” here as people have now carried anti-Ebola buckets into their houses instead of being kept outside, saying she wants “to make sure they bring them back on the outside.”

Presenting the consignment ducked at the Freeport of Monrovia on board a Dutch vessel “Karel Doorman” on Monday morning, 24 November Ambassador Docter said, “We can only rest all of us once Ebola has been completely eradicated from the region.”

The Netherlands envoy told President Sirleaf that upon discharging the ship, it was returning to Europe to pick up a second cargo of anti-Ebola items for the three countries to be back in Monrovia around the Christmas seasons.

Before ducking in Monrovia, the “Karel Doorman” Vessel had already donated supplies in the Ports of Free Town, Sierra Leone and the Guinean capital Conakry, the three worst affected ECOWAS states in the deadliest Ebola outbreak that has already killed over 5,000 victims. The Netherlands envoy said the Dutch government wants to fight Ebola, and feels that “we should isolate the disease and not the countries.”

“We are greatly encouraged by the progress that Liberia has made and there has been truly national effort where the government and the people of Liberia with help from outside managed to bring the disease to its kneel – it’s not completely gone yet, but now we are going after the disease,” said Ambassador Docter.

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He has, meanwhile, made a commitment that the Netherlands will be with Liberia in the period after Ebola in helping to rebuild the economy. The Ambassador said the Dutch government will send a delegation of investors to work out cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water and sanitation and energy as soon as Ebola is finally quelled in Liberia.

For her part, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf thanked all partners here, and particularly the Netherlands government and people for the consignment and the commitment made to bring in a trade and investment mission that she described as “final part of our process” to begin an economic recovery after treating the sick and improving the health care system.

“I like what Ambassador Docter said; he said a few months ago, Ebola was running after us; it was chasing us; today we are chasing Ebola. That means that people are out there doing contact tracing. Our communities are taking responsibilities and ownership; they are going into every home to see who’s sick,” the President said.

She, however, urged the public to continue to place anti-Ebola buckets at the entrances of their homes, businesses and public buildings, because “we are never totally freed from Ebola until all of the affected countries – our neighboring countries: Guinea and Sierra Leone are also free from Ebola.”

“I can see some relaxation, I’m going around this time to go and see where all the buckets that they finished carrying inside the house, to make sure they bring them back on the outside; to make sure they are not shaking hands again, to make sure they are identifying the sick, to make sure… we still can be careful,” she added.

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