Time magazine has named the medics who have treated patients struck with the killer Ebola virus as its “person of the year 2014“, paying tribute to their courage and mercy.
The Ebola outbreak has turned into an epidemic in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and there have been scattered cases in Nigeria, Mali, Spain, Germany and the United States. More than 6000 people have died, according to figures from the World Health Organisation.
“Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease,” wrote Time editor Nancy Gibbs, announcing the prestigious annual title on Wednesday.
“The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight.
“For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defences, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time’s 2014 Person of the Year.”
Time’s annual selection goes to a man, woman, couple or concept that the magazine’s editors feel had the most influence on the world during the previous 12 months.
Runners-up for the Person of the Year selection were: The Ferguson protesters, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in Iraq, and Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur who founded the company Alibaba.
The first Man of the Year was aviator Charles Lindbergh, who appeared on the cover of the magazine’s January 2, 1928, issue. Past selections included Wallis Simpson, the duchess of Windsor, in 1937; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 1999; and the personal computer in 1982.