Sunday 26 January 2020

Death toll tops 1,400 as fear grips West Africa

A girl stands behind closed gates for a government-imposed Ebola quarantine
A girl stands behind closed gates for a government-imposed Ebola quarantine

Stephanie Nebehay

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has led to 1,427 deaths out of 2,615 known cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed.

In its latest update, the WHO reported 142 new laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola and 77 more deaths from four affected countries - Guinea, Liberia,Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Earlier, the WHO said the scale of the world's worst Ebola outbreak had been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of "shadow zones" that medics cannot enter. It is due to issue a global strategy plan towards the end of next week in Geneva.

In Liberia, a teenage boy died after being shot by security forces in a slum community that was blockaded this week to stop the spread of Ebola, a Liberia government spokesman said.

Shakie Kamara (16) had sustained serious injuries during an altercation after security forces blockaded about 50,000 people inside the West Point slum, sealing off their peninsula from the rest of Monrovia. His death added to anger in West Point, where the government began distributing rice on Thursday to alleviate food shortages in the cordoned-off area.

Countries in West Africa and beyond continue to impose travel restrictions.

Yesterday, the Central African country of Gabon announced it was barring all flights and ships travellilng from Ebola-stricken countries.

Irish Independent

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