UK & World News
Liberia Closes Schools To Halt Ebola Spread
Liberia has closed all schools and quarantined several communities as it attempts to stop the spread of the deadly ebola virus.
All non-essential government workers were also put on 30 days compulsory leave as the country announced its anti-ebola action plan.
Security forces across the country have been ordered to enforce the new rules.
The measures came into force as two US Peace Corps Volunteers were isolated and placed under observation after coming into contact with someone who later died of the ebola virus.
It was unclear in which country the volunteers had been working.
Liberia had recorded 129 of the 672 deaths blamed on ebola as of July 23, according to the World Health Organisation.
Lewis Brown, Liberia's information minister, said: "This is a major public health emergency. It is fierce, deadly and many of our countrymen are dying and we need to act to stop the spread.
"We need the support of the international community now more than ever. We desperately need all the help we can get."
The measures were announced after an isolation unit treating people infected by the virus at the Elwa hospital in the capital Monrovia was revealed to be overrun with cases, forcing health workers to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes.
Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant minister of health, said: "The staff here are overwhelmed.
"This is a humanitarian crisis in Liberia. People are being given care at their homes until we can move them to the new unit."
Mr Nyesnwah said trained medical staff wearing full protective gear were treating the people thought to be infected with the virus, but it would take up to 36 hours to build the new unit.
Dozens of health workers have died while treating patients and two Americans working for the US charity Samaritan's Purse were infected in the last week.
Doctor Kent Brantly and colleague Nancy Writebol have shown a slight improvement, but are still both in a serious condition in hospital, according to the charity.
The EU allocated an additional ?2m (£1.58m) to fight the outbreak on Wednesday, bringing total funding to ?3.9m (£3.08m).
Hong Kong said it was quarantining all people from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia who showed ebola-like symptoms arriving in the city.
Home to seven million people, it saw nearly 300 people killed by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) 11 years ago.