Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has declared a 90-day state of emergency in the wake of the country’s soaring Ebola death toll, which is now at 271, including 32 health care workers. According to their Information Minister Lewis Brown, President Sirleaf has described the Ebola epidemic as a clear and present danger to the collective survival of the Liberian state.
“The president is responding to the grave situation we now confront. It is obviously a clear and present danger to the collective survival of our nation, and she has elevated our national emergency to this very high level,” he said.
The government has already established a National Task Force and instructed all non-essential government employees to stay home for 30 days. It has also closed schools and authorized the fumigation of all public buildings and the closing of markets in affected areas. Brown added that although Liberians enjoy the right to move freely, it is necessary to curtail some rights because of the epidemic.
“As I speak to you, Operation White Shield has been launched. It is expected to gain full operational status by Friday. Operation White Shield is a sort of quarantining operation by the military to ensure that we restrict the movement of people from affected communities to unaffected communities,” he said.