Friday, 21 February, 2020

Ebola outbreak causes border friction between DR Congo, Rwanda

Ebola outbreak causes border friction between DR Congo, Rwanda Ebola outbreak causes border friction between DR Congo, Rwanda
Gustavo Carr | 02 August, 2019, 02:37

The border was closed to "avoid unnecessary crossings" to the city, said Gilbert Habayarimana, the mayor of Rubavu district in western Rwanda.

It's been one year since this current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak was declared in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and more than 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths have been reported in parts of Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

Goma is a major transport hub that shares the border with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, which has a population of more than 85,000.

New cases in a border city of over a million people.

The Ebola coordinator for North Kivu province, Dr. Aruna Abedi, confirmed the latest case to The Associated Press.

To mark Thursday's first anniversary of the current outbreak being declared, United Nations agencies issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying there have been more than 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths, in parts of DRC's Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

"The Congolese authorities deplore this decision, which runs counter to the advice of the WHO (World Health Organisation) on fighting the virus", the DR Congolese presidency statement said.

Two weeks ago, the World Health Organization declared that the outbreak was a "public health emergency of worldwide concern", a designation created to bring more global attention to a health crisis that has only been used four times before.

This patient had arrived at the treatment center "on the 11th day of his illness, it was really hopeless because the disease was already at a very advanced degree, so he died on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday", said his doctor.

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The year-long Ebola outbreak has infected around 2,600 people and killed over 1,800 of them in the African country.

The third patient is the daughter of a miner who died on Wednesday.

Rwanda's state minister for foreign affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the border closure to The Associated Press, a day after World Health Organization officials had praised African nations for keeping their borders open. Ten of them were in the northern stretches of North Kivu province, where transmission of the virus has been especially hard to control. For months health officials had feared that an Ebola case would be confirmed there.

He had spent several days at home with his family while showing symptoms.

Earlier in the week, the ministry announced that Ebola case management and surveillance drills would be conducted at eight hospitals to further strengthen the capacity of first responders.

"This is why we have been doing intensive preparedness work in Goma so that any new case is identified and responded to immediately", he explained.

Scientists think the virus initially infected humans through close contact with an infected animal, such as a bat, and then the virus spread from person to person.

"The UK has led the way in tackling this killer disease and we can be proud of our support to create a life-saving Ebola vaccine which has inoculated 180,000 people so far". Health centres have been provided with training and equipment to improve infection prevention and control.