Monday, February 16, 2015

Ebola outbreak: Liberia schools reopen after six months

Many schools in Liberia have reopened, six months after they were closed to try to curb the spread of Ebola.

Pupils welcomed the move, but some raised fears that the deadly disease had not yet been totally eradicated.

Staff at school gates were equipped with thermometers to take pupils' temperatures and buckets of chlorinated water for them to wash their hands.

Liberia was one of three West African states worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, identified in March 2013.

More than 9,000 people have been killed by the virus, but there has been a general decline in the number of cases in recent weeks.

Only three new confirmed cases were reported in Liberia in the week leading to 8 February, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The leaders of the three states - Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Guinea's Alpha Conde and Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma - pledged at a meeting in Guinea's capital Conakry on Sunday to achieve "zero Ebola infections within 60 days".

Guinea reopened its schools a month ago and Sierra Leone plans to do so at the end of March.

Many schools in rural areas are not yet ready to open as they lack basic equipment such as chairs and soap, says the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in the capital, Monrovia.