British Airways suspends flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone over Ebola

LONDON (AFP) - British Airways said Tuesday it has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone following concerns about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

"We have temporarily suspended our flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until August 31, 2014, due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries," the carrier said in a statement.

"The safety of our customers, crew and ground teams is always our top priority and we will keep the routes under constant review in the coming weeks."

The airline normally operates services four times a week between London Heathrow airport and Freetown in Sierra Leone, with a connection on to the Liberian capital Monrovia.

"Customers with tickets on those routes are being offered a range of options including a full refund and the ability to rebook their flights to a later date," the statement added.

The World Bank has pledged US$200 million (S$250 million) to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help them contain the largest ever outbreak of Ebola, which is sowing panic across west Africa.

Sierra Leone has the most confirmed cases of any nation - 574 - including 252 deaths since the virus spread from neighbouring Guinea in May.

President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of emergency in Sierra Leone last week and has warned that the regional epidemic threatened the "very essence" of the nation.

Meanwhile in Liberia, there have been protests over reports that victims' corpses were being dumped or abandoned.

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