News ID: 55581
Published: 1059 GMT November 17, 2014

Liberian president replaces health minister over Ebola

Liberian president replaces health minister over Ebola

The Liberian health minister has been sacked by the president who has been under intense pressure over her government's response to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf replaced Health Minister Walter Gwenigale with George Warner, the former head of the country’s civil service, according to a statement issued on Sunday. Press TV reported.

"Gwenigale, who continues to have my full confidence, will continue to serve as adviser in the Ministry of Health and will continue to work with me on the presidential advisory Ebola committee until his planned retirement in February," Sirleaf said in the statement.

The government is trying to prevent new Ebola cases by December 25, the president noted.

She also introduced a new minister of public works, a new education minister, and a new head of the state radio station.

"My hope is that this team will take us to the finish line, but make no mistake: As captain, I will not hesitate to change anyone who fails to meet our expectations," Sirleaf stressed.

More than 2,800 confirmed, probable, and suspected deaths have been recorded over the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, according to the latest statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease has so far claimed the lives of 5,147 people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone -- the three West African countries badly affected by the epidemic -- with the number of infections standing at 14,068, according to WHO.

Last Thursday, Liberia lifted a state of emergency declared three months ago in the country following the outbreak of Ebola.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces, or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

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