DR Congo: WHO declares Ebola outbreak global health emergency

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has for the first time declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a global health emergency.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshiiso Moeti, who confirmed this in a tweet Wednesday, said the Organisation arrived at the decision after consulting the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti@MoetiTshidi

After consulting the IHR Emergency Committee, @WHO has declared the #Ebola outbreak in #DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern #PHEIC. I urge the international community to step up and put its full support behind the Ebola response.

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Dr Moeti “urge the international community to step up and put its full support behind the Ebola response.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti@MoetiTshidi

The #Ebola response must be a global political & financial priority. Yesterday’s high-level meeting in #Geneva was an opportunity to ensure the international community does not turn its gaze but rallies to support #DRC & #Africa in the fight to end the Ebola outbreak.

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Health experts believe the WHO move is to encourage affluent donor countries to contribute more cash to fight the virus.

The WHO, however, stopped short of saying borders should be closed, saying the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high.

The outbreak in DR Congo has killed more than 1,600 people.

This week, the first case was detected in Goma, home to more than a million.

The outbreak, the second largest in history, started in August 2018 and is affecting two provinces in DR Congo – North Kivu and Ituri.

More than 2,500 people have been infected and two-thirds of them have died.

It took 224 days for the number of cases to reach 1,000, but just a further 71 days to reach 2,000.

About 12 new cases are being reported every day.

Kofi Atinka

Kofi Atinka