Liberia’s president declared a state of emergency Wednesday and announced quarantine checkpoints as the government struggles to deal with the deadliest Ebola outbreak in the African nation’s history.
"The government and people of Liberia require extraordinary measures for the very survival of our State and for the protection of the lives of our people," President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in a statement distributed by the government's Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism.
Sirleaf blamed the disease's spread on "ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices." She said the extraordinary measures could result in "the suspension of certain rights."
The country, one of four hardest-hit by the outbreak, has had nearly 520 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola and 282 deaths, according to statistics from the health ministry and the World Health Organization. Overall at least 932 deaths have been blamed on the disease, which has no known cure. The government also announced the deployment of military personnel to affected areas of the country, where troops will enforce checkpoints, keep residents from uninfected areas from travelling into regions that have seen the disease and provide security for health workers.
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— Phil Helsel