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MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia on Monday closed almost all of its borders in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola after a third doctor working to contain the virus in West Africa contracted the deadly disease.

Only five entry points, including James Spriggs Payne Airport in the capital, Monrovia, as well as Roberts International Airport, about 30 miles farther east, remained open, said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Preventive and testing centers will be established at the five entry points for all outgoing and incoming travelers, the president added, describing the outbreak as a “national emergency.”

Johnson Sirleaf also announced restrictions on public gatherings and requested hotels, restaurants, entertainment centers, and video clubs to show educational Ebola prevention videos.

Liberia is planning to install facilities to wash hands in government facilities and public places across the country.

Communities seriously affected by the Ebola outbreak will be quarantined, according to Johnson Sirleaf.

In Liberia, Kent Brantly, an American doctor working to stop the outbreak, was infected with Ebola and is being treated at an isolation center.

Brantly became the third doctor in less than a week to fall ill with the virus. A Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, died Saturday at a clinic in Monrovia. Sierra Leone’s leading Ebola specialist, Sheikh Umar Khan, became ill last week.

World Health Organization officials say the Ebola outbreak in three countries in West Africa — Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia — is the deadliest ever. As of July 20, the WHO says 1,093 cases have been confirmed or are probable or suspected. Of those cases, 660 people have died.

Health officials are concerned about the disease spreading to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu last week said a Liberian man died after being hospitalized with Ebola in Lagos.

Ebola causes massive hemorrhages and has a fatality rate of 90 percent. It is transmitted through blood and other body fluids.

AFP Photo/Zoom Dosso

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Reprinted with permission from PressRun

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