Despite waning threat, Church’s all-out war vs. Ebola continues

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MAKENI, Sierra Leone, Feb. 9, 2015—A Filipino missionary based in Sierra Leone has expressed confidence that the threat of Ebola virus there is now relatively under control, stressing the Catholic Church continues reminding locals of the dangers the disease brings.

Fr. Anthony Patrick Santianez (center) is a Filipino missionary in Sierra Leone, a West African country, which has a recorded total of 4, 862 Ebola cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo from Santianez' Facebook account)

With Ebola cases decreasing, Fr. Anthony Patrick S. Santianez told Church-run Radyo Veritas in a recent interview that Sierra Leonean authorities have already relaxed some of the measures and restrictions they had laid down ealier in a bid to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.

The Samar-born priest, however, fears yet another possible Ebola outbreak once normal classes in the West African country resume, but hopes that the efforts of the Catholic Church to educate people on the nature of the lethal disease and how to prevent it are making an impact.

“Despite protests from various organizations, schools here are set to reopen by the end of March,” he said.

Santianez described this decision of the Sierra Leonean government as risky given the dangers students will be exposed to.

The Xaverian missionary priest believes it will be for the good of all if the resumption of classes is put off until it is actually safe to do so.

Meanwhile, Santianez shared churches in Sierra Leone still impose preventive measures.

“The faithful are requested to wash their hands and have their body temperature taken before they step inside churches,” he said .

According to him, as many as 2,921 died in Sierra Leone due to the Ebola virus.

As of Feb. 3, four new cases have been recorded. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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