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Threat to break isolation in Liberia over food

Published:Friday | October 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP): Dozens of people quarantined for Ebola monitoring in western Liberia are threatening to break out of isolation because they have no food, the West African nation's state radio reported yesterday.

Forty-three people were put in quarantine after four people died of Ebola in Jennewende, a town in an impoverished corner of Grand Cape Mount County near the Sierra Leone border, the Liberia Broadcasting System said.

It quoted those quarantined as saying that the UN World Food Program apparently has stopped providing food to people affected by Ebola in the area. A WFP press officer said he was looking into the claim.

Liberia is the hardest-hit of three West African nations being ravaged by Ebola. The latest figures published Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) show the country has at least 4,665 infected people and 2,705 have died there. WHO says there probably are more ill people and deaths, but the numbers are under-reported. Overall, the WHO says the disease has killed 4,877 people and infected 9,936, almost all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Rwanda's minister of health, meanwhile, is reversing a decision she made to require visitors who had been in the US or Spain during the previous 22 days to report their medical condition to Rwandan authorities daily. Dr Agnes Binagwaho said on Twitter late Wednesday that the decision to screen travellers from the US and Spain was solely her decision and not the government's. She apologised for any inconvenience.

A posting on President Paul Kagame's Twitter account said the measures instituted by Binagwaho weren't necessary and that his health minister sometimes acts first and thinks later.

No Ebola cases have been reported in Rwanda. The US Embassy says that Rwanda is not allowing visitors who have recently travelled to Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, or Sierra Leone into the country.