In the last week of August, people in Liberia and Sierra Leone began a countdown to their final days, marking the end of their last day on earth.
The countdown is part of the global Ebola response, which has been running for four weeks now and aims to stop the spread of the deadly virus that has killed over 5,500 people in three West African countries.
More than 5,000 people have died in the Ebola epidemic in the region, and over 2,000 of those deaths were caused by the virus.
In Sierra Leone, where the virus first appeared in the country’s capital, Freetown, in March, the death toll has been over 300.
In Liberia, the number of cases is more than 1,400, and Liberia is one of the worst-affected countries in the world.
In both countries, people have been dying of fever, dehydration and lack of oxygen, while people are losing hope that their last days are coming soon.
A new poll from the US-based Public Policy Polling found that over 70 per cent of Liberians would be willing to leave their homes in order to protect their families, but only 16 per cent would be able to do so if it meant ending their own lives.
According to the poll, which was conducted between July 27 and August 10, 64 per cent said they would not be willing or able to take part in the final days.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Liberia’s Minister of Health Dr Daniel Savel, said that the country was in a state of lockdown.
The Government has closed schools, public places and businesses and ordered everyone to stay indoors, Savel said.
“If we can’t control the epidemic, then we need to stop it, because we will lose all the support we have left.”
Savel added that the government has “no option but to declare the country a disaster zone”.
The country has also banned any contact between the public and non-government organisations, including non-governmental organisations that provide medical care or help in the fight against Ebola.
A woman holds a photograph of her dead sister and father during a funeral in Monrovia, Liberia, August 25, 2017.
“This is a state which has to be declared a disaster area,” Savel told Al Jazeera.
“There is no way we can accept this scenario.”
“I would say that a lot of people are not prepared to die,” said the minister.
“They are not thinking about their own future.
They are thinking about the future of their families and their children.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the UN, the country has the third-highest rate of deaths from Ebola in the entire world, behind the United States and Japan.
A further study from the Pew Research Center found that Liberia has lost more than 2,400 people to Ebola in less than two months, and that its total deaths have increased by nearly 100 per cent since March.
Liberia’s government, meanwhile, has tried to reassure citizens that the virus is not spreading.
“I have told them that we will fight the virus and will find a solution to our own problems, and the virus will not return,” Saibos said.
The Ministry of Health has reported that Liberia’s public health infrastructure is “on track” to handle the epidemic and has managed to contain the virus, Saibys comments said.
In a press briefing in the capital, Monrosee, on August 24, Sahels Deputy Minister of Emergency Operations and Co-ordination, Mariam Othman, said the government would have a large number of workers working in the field, as well as other staff, to deal with the virus crisis.
“We are also preparing a large amount of food, but we do not have enough supplies for this,” Othmen said.
Othmans comments came as the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the global response to the Ebola crisis was “very robust” and had achieved significant progress.
The organization said that it had identified the three hardest hit countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – as the top three hardest-hit countries, and warned that further attacks against health workers and aid workers could be coming.
“While we are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, we are confident that we have managed to reduce the number and intensity of attacks against public health workers in all three countries,” said WHO’s director-general Dr Anette Nyakane.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that it has issued a total of 4.2 million emergency travel warnings and has deployed more than 100,000 health workers across the world to combat the Ebola virus.
The organisation said it would be sending additional staff to West Africa and that more than 3,000 medical workers had been sent to the region to assist in treating Ebola patients.
The World Health Organisation said that there had been a reduction in the number, frequency and severity of attacks on health workers, including by “individuals or groups, against health care workers and other healthcare