MONROVIA - Liberia declared a state of emergency Wednesday due to the deadly Ebola outbreak as US President Barack Obama said it was premature to send experimental drugs to victims in Africa.
Declaring the state of emergency overnight President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf warned that the extraordinary measures were needed "for the very survival of our state".
The Liberian parliament will meet Thursday to ratify the move, while its Sierra Leone counterpart does the same following a state-of-emergency declaration there last week.
Speaking of "a clear and present danger" from the virus which has claimed almost 1,000 lives in West Africa, Sirleaf announced that the state of emergency should last for a minimum of 90 days.
"The scope and scale of the epidemic, the virulence and deadliness of the virus now exceed the capacity and statutory responsibility of any one government agency or ministry," she said.
Amid growing call for international help, Obama said it was too early to dispatch experimental drugs to Ebola victims in Africa
Two Americans who worked for Christian aid agencies in Liberia were brought back to the United States for treatment in recent days.
They are being given an experimental drug known as ZMapp, which is hard to produce on a large scale and have been showing signs of improvement.
The latest official toll across west Africa hit 932 deaths since the start of the year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, with 1,711 confirmed cases, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Fears are growing that the disease is also taking hold in Nigeria.
The death of a nurse in Lagos, a megacity of more than 20 million, came as 45 deaths were confirmed across west Africa between Saturday and Monday, with aid agencies, including Doctors Without Borders, saying the terrifying tropical disease is out of control.
Nigeria's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters he was in contact with the US Center for Disease Control on the possibility of getting drugs from them.