A young man lies dead in the streets of Liberia, left to rot in view of passers-by and local children.
He is just one of many Ebola victims to have been dragged out of their homes and dumped on the country’s roads by terrified relatives in a desperate bid to avoid being quarantined.
The deadly virus, which can cause victims to suffer from severe bruising and bleeding from the eyes and mouth, has claimed the lives of nearly 900 people across West Africa so far.
Last week, the Liberian government announced a raft of tough measures to contain the disease, including shutting schools, imposing quarantines on victim’s homes and tracking their friends and relatives.
Today, Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said locals had started dragging their loved ones’ bodies onto the streets out of fear that the new government regulations would risk their own health.
With less than half of those infected surviving the disease, many Africans regard Ebola isolation wards as death traps, he said.
‘They are therefore removing the bodies from their homes and are putting them out in the street,’ Mr Brown told Reuters.
‘They’re exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated. We’re asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and we’ll pick them up.’
On Monday, the Liberian government announced via state radio that all corpses of Ebola victims must be cremated amid fears the incurable disease could overrun healthcare systems in one of the world’s poorest regions.
The order came after a tense standoff erupted over the weekend when health workers tried to bury more than 20 Ebola victims on the outskirts of Monrovia, LIberia’s ramshackle ocean-front capital.
Authorities said military police officers were called in to help restore order so that the burials could take place.