ebola liberia
Relatives argue with an Ebola cremation team over the removal of a body in Liberia. Burials are important in Liberian culture, making the removal of infected bodies for cremation more traumatic for surviving family membersJohn Moore/Getty Images

Liberia's government has purchased a plot of land to form a graveyard for Ebola victims, relaxing a much-contested order that all Ebola victims' bodies must be cremated.

Ciatta Bishop, head of the national Ebola burial team, said on Tuesday that the government has secured a 25-acre site when victims of the deadly disease can now be buried, Associated Press reports.

The decree which made disposing of deceased Ebola victims through cremation compulsory has been highly unpopular in Liberia, where funeral traditions are carefully followed and are considered a sacred obligation to the deceased.

The Liberian government ordered victims must be cremated, because corpses of Ebola victims remain highly contagious.

Many healthcare workers in the affected West African state have contracted the virus after washing or moving dead bodies.

More than 2,000 corpses of Ebola victims have been cremated so far.

The number of people infected by Ebola in the three countries worst affected by the outbreak has passed 20,000, with more than 7,842 deaths in the epidemic so far, according to the World Health Organisation.

Cumulative case numbers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea stood at 20,081, WHO said in a statement.