There are conflicting reports out of Liberia after a quarantine center set up for people suspected to have Ebola was raided. According to the BBC, on Saturday, an angry mob attacked the center in West Point – a densely populated township of Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia. There were 29 patients in the facility at the time of the break in.
“An amazing story from this weekend,” Stu said on radio this morning. “There are conflicting reports over the fate of 17 suspected Ebola patients who vanished after a quarantine center in the Liberian capital was looted.”
While a senior Liberian health official claims all patients are accounted for and have been moved to another medical facility, there are reports at least 17 people escaped. The BBC reports:
Mr. Nyenswah said after the attack that 29 patients at the center were being relocated and readmitted to an Ebola treatment center located in the facility of the country's John F Kennedy Memorial Medical Center.
However, Jina Moore, a journalist for Buzzfeed who is in Monrovia, told the BBC that 10 people had been freed by their relatives on Friday night and 17 had escaped during the looting the next day.
To add insult to injury, the looters took items from the facility including bloodstained sheets and mattresses. As one senior official told the BBC, “This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life. All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients."
Because of the population density of West Point and the fact that many people in the city do not take the Ebola threat seriously, there is a tremendous fear over how quickly the deadly virus could spread.
“Imagine, they're taken bloodstained mattresses… home, you know, potentially to sleep on. That is not going to work out well,” Stu concluded. “How the security isn't really higher on these buildings… is beyond me. The one thing they do seem to have in Liberia is lots of guns. So you'd think they'd be able to protect a facility, but apparently not a priority.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP