May 9, 2015 6:45 AM
Liberia is free of Ebola, says World Health Organization
The Associated Press
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) Liberia is now free of Ebola after going 42 days twice the maximum incubation period for the deadly disease without any new cases, the World Health Organization announced on Saturday.
Elsewhere in West Africa, however, new cases were reported this week in neighboring Sierra Leone and in Guinea, the other two countries hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Each country recorded nine cases for the week ending May 3, according to WHO's latest situation report.
Officials and survivors said they are cautious about openly celebrating the end of Ebola in Liberia, as the continued presence of the disease in the region means just one sick patient slipping over the border into Liberia could spark a resurgence of cases.
"We're proud of what we collectively managed to do but we need to remain vigilant," said Peter Jan Graaff, the U.N. secretary-general's acting special representative and head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). "The virus is not yet out of the region and as long as the virus is in the region we're still all of us potentially at risk."
On Saturday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf toured health centers in Monrovia, embracing and taking group photos with health workers. She was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac.
WHO has recorded more than 4,700 Ebola deaths in Liberia, more than any other affected country. There have been more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa.