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Chinese medical team stays in Liberia to fight Ebola

Updated: Aug 2,2014 4:13 PM     Xinhua

Dr. Kent Brantly wears protective gear at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia in this undated handout photograph courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse. Brantly contracted Ebola and has been described as stable but suffering from some symptoms of the contagious disease, for which there is no known cure.[Photo/Agencies]

LAGOS -- The Chinese medical team in Liberia will continue to stay in the country to help battle against the Ebola outbreak, team leader Zhou Yongjun told Xinhua on Friday.

“A total of 352 cases and 170 deaths have been reported so far in Liberia since April when the deadly virus broke out in the country,” Zhou said in a telephone interview.

“Egypt and the United States have evacuated their medical staff from the hospitals in the capital of Liberia, where the epidemic has also broken out,” said Zhou, adding that local doctors were also put on leave.

The Chinese medical workers, however, will continue to stay in the country to fight the virus and help local patients, Zhou said, adding that the medical workers have taken protective measures themselves.

A lack of adequate protective measures and medical knowledge and failure to enforce quarantine measures contributed to the severity of the epidemic, said Zhou, who also urged all Chinese citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Liberia.

The nine-strong Chinese medical team arrived in Liberia in October 2013 to provide medical care to local patients.

Liberia has announced a state of emergency in a bid to prevent the deadly epidemic from spiralling out of control. The country has also closed all of its schools and most of its border crossings, and put many government workers on leave.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease has killed 729 people and affected more than 1,300 this year.

The Ebola virus, which can incubate for up to 21 days, has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.

The WHO defines the disease, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, as “a severe, often fatal illness” and “one of the world’s most virulent diseases.”