The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency FOTO/VIDEO

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo an international health emergency

Source: Tanjug
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Tanjug/AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Tanjug/AP Photo/Jerome Delay

The situation had become critical when the virus had spread to the city of Goma, home to two million citizens. This city is situated on the border with Uganda, and Congo officials claim that a priest who used several false names brought the disease into the city.

"The pastor who brought Ebola to Goma used several fake names to conceal his identity on his way to the city", Congolese unnamed officials said, and AP reported.

WHO on Tuesday said the man had died and health workers were scrambling to trace dozens of his contacts, including those who had traveled on the same bus.

Congo's minister of health resisted the characterization of the outbreak as a health emergency.

"We accept the decision of the committee of expert but one hopes that it's a decision that wasn't made under pressure of certain groups that want to use this as a way to raise funds for certain humanitarian actors", said Dr. Ilunga.

This is the fifth such declaration in history. Previous emergencies were declared for the devastating 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the emergence of Zika in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic and polio.

Laura Miller, WHO representative in Congo, welcomed WHO's declaration and said in the statement for Tanjug that she hoped it would "translate into urgent and practical action, including more funding from international donors".

"Every day, women, men and children are dying of the Ebola virus and it is becoming too easy to forget that the ever-climbing case numbers are people," Miller said in a statement. "Now with the first case identified in Goma, it is crucial that we involve communities at every step in the response, building trust and collaboration and viewing them as true partners, as we can't do this alone", Miller concluded.

Tanjug/AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Tanjug/AP Photo/Jerome Delay

World Health Organization was heavily criticized for its sluggish response to the West Africa outbreak, which it repeatedly declined to declare a global emergency until the virus was spreading explosively in three countries and nearly 1,000 people were dead.

The World Health Organization (WHO) made the declaration on Wednesday following a meeting of its emergency committee in the Swiss city of Geneva.

The UN agency also said no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel or trade because of Ebola.

The organization’s emergency committee will meet again within three months to assess the situation. Committee members will review whether the outbreak is still a global emergency and whether other measures are needed.

While the risk of regional spread remains high, the risk outside the region remains low, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the announcement in Geneva.

World

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