Liberia has set itself the target of halting Ebola by the end of the year, but the battle is far from over in the rest of west Africa. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned Friday that despite gains against the deadly epidemic the new outbreak in Mali was “very worrisome”. “We must get to zero cases. Ebola is not a disease where you can leave a few cases and say you’ve done enough,” he said at a summit on the epidemic with the leaders of the United Nations, World Health Organization and the International Monetary Fund.
The head of the UN Ebola mission warned that the world was “far, far away” from beating the deadly outbreak and said a huge increase in aid was needed to fight the virus in Africa. “There is a long battle ahead of us,” Anthony Banbury told the UN Security Council, which met two months after it declared the outbreak a threat to world security.
After the death on Monday of a Sierra Leonean doctor evacuated to the United States, a member of the Cuban medical contingent in Sierra Leone tested positive and was transferred Thursday to Geneva. A Spanish Doctors Without Borders volunteer, who injured himself while treating an Ebola patient in Mali, was repatriated as a precaution on Friday.
The outbreak by far the worst on record of the tropical fever, which emerged almost a year ago in southern Guinea — has killed around 5,500 out of 15,351 cases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Experts acknowledge that real toll of infections and deaths could be up to three times higher than the official figures. More than 99 percent of cases and deaths are concentrated in three countries.
The WHO says the epidemic in Guinea and Liberia “is due to intense transmission in some key provinces” while transmission is “intense throughout northern and western Sierra Leone”.