UN envoy says flight bans hindering war on Ebola

August 25, 2014 | By | Reply More

Aug 25, – David Nabarro, a British physician the United Nations has appointed to coordinate the global response to the crisis, was in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown for the fifth day of a tour of the region.

hromedia UN envoy says flight bans hindering war on EbolaThe UN’s new pointman on Ebola said Monday the fight against the epidemic was a “war” which could take another six months, and warned that airlines boycotting the region were hampering the response.

“The effort to defeat Ebola is not a battle but a war which requires everybody working together, hard and effectively,” he told a news conference.

“I hope it will be done in six months but we have to do it until it is completed.”

UN officials have pledged to step up efforts against the lethal tropical virus, which has infected more than 2,600 and killed 1,427 since the start of the year.

Adding to the crisis, the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday confirmed its two first cases of Ebola this year, claiming they were unrelated to the epidemic in west Africa.

And in Liberia, the death of a doctor treated with an experimental serum cast doubt on hopes that new drugs could help to contain the worst-ever outbreak of the deadly disease.

Nabarro, who has been charged with revitalising the health sectors of Ebola-hit Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, said bans on flights to afflicted countries were hampering UN efforts to stop the epidemic.

Almost all airlines running services to and from the three hardest-hit nations’ capitals have announced a temporary suspension until the spread of the disease is brought under control.

“By isolating the country, it makes it difficult for the UN to do its work,” said Nabarro.

“Pilots and others, as well as passengers, generally have very low risk of Ebola infection,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General on Health Security, told the news conference.

– Untested drugs –

Liberia has suffered most since the outbreak of the deadly virus erupted earlier this year, with 624 deaths.

Guinea, where the disease was first discovered, has reported 406 deaths, Sierra Leone 392 and Nigeria five, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The news conference followed an announcement by Liberia that a doctor treated with experimental American anti-Ebola serum ZMapp had died.

Abraham Borbor, a Liberian national, died on Sunday night but two other health workers receiving the serum are still in treatment, Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown told AFP.

Japan had said earlier that it was ready to offer an experimental drug developed by a Japanese company to help stem the global tide of Ebola.

The WHO has been discussing the use of unapproved drugs as a way of getting a handle on an outbreak.

“Given the overall situation, it is reasonable to go ahead and use these medicines but in a very controlled and very careful way,” Fukuda said.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: International

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