The dead bodies of a number of Ebola virus victims have been dumped by their relatives, on the streets of Liberia, defying the government's stringent quarantine rules.
In Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the relatives of the Ebola victims seem to be reluctant to face the quarantine, according to health officials. They would rather risk contracting the disease themselves, by dragging the bodies of their relatives out onto the streets, rather than call the authorities, who would enforce quarantine.
"They are...removing the bodies from their homes and are putting them out in the street," said Lewis Brown, the Information Minister of Liberia, to Reuters. "They're exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated. We're asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and well pick them up."
He also said that many people feel threatened by the whole process of decontamination of their homes, and how the government would track down all the relatives of the deceased, to decontaminate them as well.
Many are afraid of going into isolation, as they look upon the quarantine as a death sentence. Many of the Africans prefer not to go into isolation because more than half of the people inflicted with the Ebola virus have died.
Also, the locals of Monrovia have opposed burials in their neighbourhoods. Hence, the authorities have started cremating the bodies of the Ebola victims. They performed 12 cremations on Monday. The Liberian government also deployed troops into Lofa County, on Monday Night, in order to isolate the affected communities in the region.
"We hope it will not require excessive force, but we have to do whatever we can to restrict the movement of people out of affected areas," said Brown.
The Ebola virus has killed 887 people since February, in West Africa, according to the latest reports. The three main countries affected by the disease – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea – the governments have been trying to enforce strict quarantine measures to contain the outbreak.
However, fear and superstition has created mistrust in the minds of the people, many of whom fear the hospitals. The governments have, meanwhile, closed down schools and imposed quarantines on the homes of the victims.
Samura Kamara, Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, has announced that the Ebola outbreak has cost the government $10 million, and is severely hampering growth in the country, while Liberia Finance Minister Amara Konneh declared that it seems very unlikely that the country would be able to reach its growth forecast for the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, British Airways has suspended all flights in and out of Liberia and Sierra Leone, till the end of the month, citing public health concerns as their main reason. The German, French and the US governments also advised its citizens against travelling to the Ebola-inflicted countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.