In an attempt to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, West African nations Liberia and Sierra Leone are trying desperately to enforce a quarantine. However, a new report suggests that the measure may be doomed to failure.
Ebola has been ravaging West Africa for months now, with no end to the epidemic in sight. Yesterday Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, declared a 90-day state of emergency and authorized soldiers to use force in an effort to prevent sick civilians from leaving Monrovia, the nation’s capital.
Sierra Leone, which is also struggling to deal with a growing Ebola outbreak, is making its own efforts to prevent the disease from spreading further. Authorities there recently launched “Operation Octopus”, so named because it involves using all arms of the government to prevent infected residents from leaving designated areas.
Both nations face serious challenges in preventing the deadly disease from taking more lives. Not all West Africans fully understand what Ebola is or how it operates, making it difficult to enforce a quarantine. New reports suggest many civilians are hiding sick relatives, perhaps believing that seeking treatment will only end with death in a strange environment.
“Ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease especially in the counties,” Sirleaf said on Wednesday.
Sirleaf added that it’s time for her nation to take “extraordinary measures [to ensure] the very survival of our state and … the protection of the lives of our people.”
It’s now believed that the Ebola outbreak, which first emerged in March, has now taken just under one thousand lives.