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Liberia is free of Ebola after going 42 days without any new cases in the outbreak that has killed more than 4,700 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday.

“The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over,” it said in a statement.

Liberia’s last case was a woman in the greater Monrovia area who developed symptoms on March 20 and died March 27, it said.

“The source of her infection remains under investigation,” it said, adding that the 332 people who may have been exposed to her identified and monitored but none developed symptoms.

Acknowledging the scale of the tragedy of Liberia’s outbreak, the WHO statement said: “It is a tribute to the government and people of Liberia that determination to defeat Ebola never wavered, courage never faltered.”

It added: “Doctors and nurses continued to treat patients, even when supplies of personal protective equipment and training in its safe use were inadequate. Altogether, 375 health workers were infected and 189 lost their lives.”

Aid group Oxfam said the declaration was “a step forward” for the country and “gives hope to the countries still tackling the disease.”

Oxfam's director in Liberia, Mamudu Salifu, said in a statement: “Liberia has worked hard to reach this point and the nation and its people should take credit for how they dealt with this terrible outbreak.

- Alastair Jamieson and David Wyllie