The last victim of the highly contagious Ebola virus disease in Liberia has been discharged from the hospital and the country has not recorded any new infection in a full week.
This is the first time in nine months that Liberia, which has one of the highest causalities in the current outbreak of the disease, would not record a fresh case.
Six months ago, the country was reporting more than 300 new cases per week.
On Wednesday, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of the country, told Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international correspondent, that the country had made a significant leap in the battle against the hemorrhagic fever.
“We are very pleased with the progress that we have made,” she said.
“We have come a long way from those terrifying months when people died, when we were confused and when our doctors and nurses trying to help the sick also died.”
Beatrice Yordoldo (pictured), the victim, who has just been discharged, left the Chinese-built Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in the Paynesville suburb of the capital Monrovia to cheers from healthcare workers, government officials and aid workers.
“Today I am very grateful to the almighty God and the Chinese ETU, and all of the Liberian nurses that are working with them. I did not know I could make it,” she said.
During an emotional send-off for Yordoldo, Tolbert Nyenswah, deputy health minister, said: “This is the last confirmed Ebola case in our country.”
But officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned that populations are so mobile in the country that there could easily be fresh outbreaks.
“We look at the three countries as really a single country, so while it’s good news that Liberia itself has no new cases, the populations are so mobile in that region that there could easily be re-importations of cases,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.
“We have to get down to zero in all three countries before we can consider this thing beaten.”
Statistics released by WHO showed that almost 24,000 people have been infected with the virus since December 2013, and 9,807 of them have died.