الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Liberia holds Ebola-postponed poll

Supporters of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party take part in a meeting in Monrovia in November 2014, for the opening of political campaign activities for senate electionsCampaigners have been urged to follow public health regulations

Voters in Liberia are set to go to the polls in an election that was postponed in October because of the Ebola outbreak.

Liberians will elect representatives to the country’s Senate on Saturday.

Among the 139 candidates vying for 15 seats are former football star George Weah and Robert Sirleaf, the son of Liberia’s president.

Ebola has infected about 19,000 people in West Africa, killing more than 7,300 – with about 3,340 deaths in Liberia.

The senate elections were postponed in October in a bid to stop campaigners and voters spreading the virus.

The election is being held just days after neighbouring Sierra Leone clamped down on public gatherings.

It has banned Sunday trading, restricted travel between districts and prohibited public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year.

A crowd follows former soccer player George Weah as he campaigns for senate seat in Monrovia, 26 November 2014A crowd follows former soccer player George Weah as he campaigns for senate seat in Monrovia

A health worker wearing protective gear attends to a suspected Ebola patient in a quarantine zone at a Red Cross facility in the town of Koidu, Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone 19 December 2014. Suspected Ebola patients are kept in quarantine at medical centres

One of Sierra Leone’s top doctors, Victor Willoughby, died from Ebola on Thursday, just hours after the arrival of experimental drug ZMab which could have been used to treat him.

Healthcare workers are among those most at risk of catching Ebola because it is spread by bodily fluids and requires close contact with victims.

In November Liberia’s election commission chairman, Jerome Korkoya, urged candidates and supporters to follow public health regulations in the run-up to the senate elections.

“For instance, the transportation of large groups of electorates by candidates clustered in vehicles and the congregation of huge number of people will be regulated,” he said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Liberia on Friday at the start of a two-day visit to countries affected by Ebola in West Africa.

After stepping off the plane, he washed his hands and had his temperature taken – two important practices to help stop the spread of the disease.

Ban Ki-moon has his temperature checked upon arrival at the Roberts International airport in Liberia's capital Monrovia on 19 December 2014Mr Ban had his temperature checked upon arrival at the Roberts International airport in Liberia’s capital Monrovia

Mr Ban urged people to follow strict health regulations until the epidemic was over.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lifted a state of emergency last month that was imposed in August to control the outbreak.

It came after the WHO said there was “some evidence” that the number of cases in Liberia was “no longer increasing”.

How Ebola spreads

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