Ebola: Global emergency declared by World Health Organization after deadly outbreak in central Africa

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The World Health Organisation has declared the deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

A group of experts met on Wednesday to determine whether the Ebola outbreak should be declared an international emergency after the virus spread to eastern Congo’s biggest city this week. 

The committee has previously declined to make the declaration — which often brings more international attention and aid — on three occasions.

This week a preacher with Ebola was identified after arriving by bus in Goma, a city of more than 2 million people. The organisation now confirms he has died.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of WHO, earlier described Ebola’s spread to Goma as a potential “game-changer.”

 “It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts,” he said in a statement announcing the classification.

“We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system” the statement continued. “Extraordinary work has been done for almost a year under the most difficult circumstances. We all owe it to these responders — coming from not just WHO but also government, partners and communities — to shoulder more of the burden.”

But Congo’s health minister, Dr Oly Ilunga, insisted the situation was “not a humanitarian crisis.”

Additional reporting by AP. More follows…

 



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