DR Congo urges calm after Ebola case in key city | 2019-07-16

DR Congo urges calm after Ebola case in key city

16 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

KINSHASA: The authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have appealed for calm after the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the main eastern city of Goma, reports AFP.

The city is the biggest where a case of the killer disease has been confirmed since an outbreak started in eastern DR Congo last August, but the government said chances of it spreading were “low”.

The patient is a pastor who had been preaching at a church in another town, Butembo, where he would have touched worshippers “including the sick”, the country’s health ministry said Sunday.

His symptoms first appeared last Tuesday. The preacher left for Goma from Butembo, one of the towns most affected by the outbreak, by bus on Friday, and arrived two days later where “the results of the laboratory test confirmed that he was positive for Ebola”, the ministry said.

“Given that the patient was quickly identified, as well as all the passengers on the bus from Butembo, the risk of the disease spreading in the city of Goma is low,” it added. The other passengers, 18 in all, and the driver will be vaccinated against Ebola on Monday, said the ministry, and urged the population of one of Africa’s largest countries to “keep calm”.

At the weekend, however, two Ebola awareness campaigners were murdered in their homes in the North Kivu province, where locals view foreign health care providers with deep suspicion. The pair were killed after months of threats, the health ministry said. The UN is convening a “high-level event” in Geneva Monday to discuss response and preparedness for the Ebola outbreak.