Politics WHO deploys team to battle Ebola outbreaks
Thousands of Ebola vaccines to be sent to Guinea to combat recent epidemic, WHO says
“Our collective, quick action is crucial to avert an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the Covid-19 pandemic," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday that 11,000 Ebola vaccines are being prepared in Geneva and are expected to arrive in Guinea over the weekend. An additional 8,600 doses will be shipped from the United States, she said. The vaccination campaign could start as early as Monday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Thursday it is sending a team of experts to Guinea and Congo to battle Ebola outbreaks there.
Health authorities in Guinea declared an Ebola outbreak on Sunday after identifying three cases, the first outbreak there since the virus ravaged the country in 2016. There have also been four confirmed Ebola cases in Congo.
More than 100 WHO staff are expected to be part of the effort, which will help with surveillance, contact tracing, testing and treatment and preparations for vaccination, among other things. The WHO has already released $1.25 million to bolster its efforts in Guinea and reinforce preparations to battle the virus in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
West Africa Rallies Ebola Defenses as Guinea Cases Climb
Guinea’s neighbors are taking measures to prevent the Ebola hemorrhagic fever from entering their countries, as cases rise in the West Africa nation. Five people have died from the highly contagious disease, Guinea’s National Health Security Agency said in an emailed statement Tuesday. Three people tested positive and 10 other suspected cases are awaiting laboratory results, it said.Authorities are also monitoring 125 people who were in contact with the cases. Most of them are in the southeastern Nzerekore region, where an outbreak has been declared, and the remaining 10 are in the capital, Conakry, it said.
"We are hard at work, shifting quickly through the gears to get ahead of the virus. With experts and emergency supplies already getting on the ground, the response is off to a strong start," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. "Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already pushed health workers and health facilities to the edge."
Beyond the WHO's efforts, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has already doled out $15 million to boost the responses in Guinea and the DRC and assist neighboring nations to prepare for possible outbreaks of their own.
Guinea's outbreak this month occurred in Goueke, which is a short distance from the tiny village of Meliandou, the origin of the 2013 pandemic that ultimately spread across the region and killed over 11,000 people. A two-year outbreak also ended in Congo just last year.
U.S. Orders Millions More Doses; Ohio Lifts Curfew: Virus Update .
President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. has finished deals for 100 million additional vaccine doses each from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., and that the companies would deliver new and existing orders quicker than projected. U.S. vaccine supply should increase enough by April to allow anyone who wants a shot to begin getting one, said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor. Los Angeles is closing Dodger Stadium and other mass vaccination sites for two days because of a shortage of vaccine.