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Ebola interrupts Chinese companies in Liberia

2014-08-17 08:38 Xinhua Web Editor: Si Huan

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia has affected the operation and business of Chinese companies in the country, but Chinese workers remain safe and the risk is still controllable, said a Chinese diplomat.

There are some 1,500 workers with Chinese companies in Liberia and the impact of the epidemic on Chinese companies has gradually surfaced, Chinese commercial counsellor Xiao Mingxiang told Xinhua on Friday.

Due to the withdrawal of the medical staff of international organizations and the heavy loss of local medics, the Liberian medical institutes have come to a crunch, Xiao said.

Thanks to the strict protective measures the Chinese companies have put in place, their employees face little threat from the Ebola virus, but such tropical diseases as malaria and typhoid pose potential risks, Xiao said.

The security situation in Liberia has also worsened. Some people suspected to have contracted Ebola tried to break into complexes housing UN peacekeeping forces stationed in Liberia. The capital city of Monrovia faces shortage of supplies. Many drug stores were looted.

Since many international flights have been suspended, tickets to fly home are hard to get. Only three international airline companies still operate in Liberia.

Xiao said the Chinese embassy in Liberia and local Chinese companies have adopted rigorous measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Since these measures are efficient, the situation is under control.

Liberia is among the worst affected countries in West Africa. The country has been in a state of emergency since Aug. 6 and has mobilized troops to control personnel flow into and out of the quarantined zone.

New figures released by the Liberian Health Ministry record 801 confirmed cases and 435 deaths -- more than any other affected countries. Among those killed, 39 victims were medical workers.

On Friday, a Chinese medical aid team met Liberian Health Minister Walter Gwenigale and Deputy Health Minister Bernice Dahn.

The Liberian officials expressed gratitude to China for sending medical aid to the African country and briefed them on the situation in the field.

Dahn said that because of traditional customs, cultivating good hygiene habits will take a long time, adding that her country hopes that other countries and international organizations could provide more help in the battle against Ebola.

The Chinese team proposed, among others, to set up a mechanism for coordination among international organizations that are helping in the country, provide local medical workers with more training, and ensure the food and water supplies in quarantined areas.

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