WHO says it could use more U.S. help on the ground in Ebola fight

By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States could bolster the battle against the Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo by allowing more of its experts to travel to the outbreak zone, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday. The virus has killed more than 1,700 people in Congo since the world's second-worst outbreak was declared almost a year ago and is threatening to spread to the major city of Goma or spill over Congo's border into Uganda. Poor security in the affected areas has hampered efforts to contain the outbreak and calls are growing for foreign aid agencies to deploy more staff on the ground

Reuters July 27, 2019 00:06:50 IST
WHO says it could use more U.S. help on the ground in Ebola fight

WHO says it could use more US help on the ground in Ebola fight

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States could bolster the battle against the Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo by allowing more of its experts to travel to the outbreak zone, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday.

The virus has killed more than 1,700 people in Congo since the world's second-worst outbreak was declared almost a year ago and is threatening to spread to the major city of Goma or spill over Congo's border into Uganda.

Poor security in the affected areas has hampered efforts to contain the outbreak and calls are growing for foreign aid agencies to deploy more staff on the ground.

This month former U.S. Ebola response coordinator Ronald Klain called on the White House to reverse its policy of keeping U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) staff out of outbreak zones, and Britain has said too many countries were using security as an excuse not to send people to the front line.

WHO currently has over 600 staff in the field, with 200,000 person-days spent in the field in total, but emergencies chief Mike Ryan told reporters that many agencies could redouble their efforts and deploy more people in the field.

"It is hard to fight a battle without your best ally at your side," WHO's emergencies chief Mike Ryan told reporters, when asked about CDC's deployment.

"But our colleagues in CDC have provided amazing support, both in Congo, in the surrounding countries, here in Geneva, in our operation centres in backstopping and providing high level technical assistance to the response," Ryan said.

Healthworkers are hoping to keep the virus bottled up by tracing people who may be at risk and vaccinating them and anyone else they might have infected.

The outbreak remains confined to two provinces of northeastern Congo. Last week the WHO designated it an international emergency, prompted partly by a case in the city of Goma, adjacent to Rwanda, and by a patient who went to a market in Uganda and subsequently died in Congo.

Uganda had three Ebola deaths in June, and if it were not for the recent scare, it would now be declared Ebola-free, having achieved 42 days with no new cases.

Ryan suggested it was premature to sound the all-clear.

"Do we have any indications at the moment of Ebola transmitting in Uganda? No. But is there a continued threat of importation? Obviously, yes."

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.