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WHO announces outbreak of Ebola in Congo International Emergency Medical Aid: NPR

The World Health Organization says more than 1650 people have died from the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Al Hadji Kudra Maliro / AP

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Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro / AP

The World Health Organization says more than 1,650 people have died from the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro / AP

Updated at 14:45 ET

The Director-General of the World Health Organization announced the current epidemic of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for urgent international health assistance.

The outbreak in the DRC killed more than 1,650 people and about 12 new cases are reported daily, according to the WHO.

At a press conference Wednesday, General Director Teodos Agamemnon Géburius described "geographic expansion." but the WHO said the outbreak was not a global threat. The Agency recommended that no borders be closed due to the declaration and that trade and travel to the Congo should not be limited. Such restrictions will lead to a terrible economic impact on the region and will prevent the struggle to stop the outbreak. The WHO head said that the DRC needs funding from the international community, otherwise we will pay for this outbreak for a long time. "

The Director-General summoned an extraordinary group of experts on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of an urgent statement not after the first Ebola case had been confirmed in Gomma, a Congolese city on the border with Rwanda. , Goma is home to about a million people and is a transit center, raising concerns about its potential to promote the spread of the virus. Nurith Aizenman from NPR reported that the man was a pastor in Goma. He seems to have contracted the virus in the city of Butembo and then had a bus to Goma while he was ill.

Emergency committee chairman Robert Steffen said on Wednesday that there were no new cases of infected people in Goma.

Wednesday's conference marked the fourth time since the outbreak of the DRC on August 1, 2018 that the WHO has assembled a panel to consider the Ebola outbreak "extraordinary for public health from international concern". Such an indication, as Eisenman reports, is a "technical symbolic gesture that can stimulate international funding".

The group of experts met last month after the first confirmed Ebola cases in neighboring Uganda, but declined to declare an emergency situation. At that time, they said that "the group of cases in Uganda were not unexpected" and decided that it did not meet the necessary criteria.

The three criteria for such a declaration are that it is an "extraordinary event" that poses a risk to public health for other countries through international proliferation and that " potentially requires a coordinated international response. " The last time the committee met, they said the epidemic met the first two criteria, but at that time it would not have been helped by a coordinated international response.

WHO workers and their partners also carry out health checks on roads, especially at the borders of the DRC, to prevent the spread of the virus. The Ugandan border is more than 540 miles long.

One of the biggest challenges in this epidemic is that even if health workers struggle to keep the virus, they are facing attacks. This week, the WHO said that since January 198, attacks have killed seven people and left more 58 health workers and wounded patients

The WHO head said on Wednesday that there had been violence in the region for years. "It's not new, it's a military zone," he said, adding that the Congolese army and UN troops are working in a coordinated way to prevent more attacks.

"Together with the government, we can and will put an end to this outbreak, better public health tools than ever to respond to Ebola, including an effective vaccine," the WHO Director-General said in a statement. "

Rwanda's Health Minister, Diane Gashumba, said her country is taking precautions as the pastor who has signed up with Ebola crosses Gama's bustling border in Rwanda .

She said crossing the border of the village wound with Goma will remain open, said the Ofeibea Quist-Arcton of NPR

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