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WHO panel decided not to declare international Ebola emergency



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Such a declaration would risk creating restrictions on travel or trade, "which could severely harm the economy of the Democratic Republic of Congo," said Aavitsland.

Healthcare Workers Look for a Patient with Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo. Picture: @Were / Twitter.

Geneva – A World Health Organization (WHO) panel decided on Friday not to declare an international emergency over Congo's Ebola outbreak despite its spread to Uganda this week, concluding such a declaration could cause much economic damage.

Congo's epidemic is the second worst ever, with 2,108 cases of Ebola and 1,411 dead since last August. The week he reached Uganda, where three cases were recorded, all in people who came from Congo. Two of them died.

In a statement, the panel of 13 independent medical experts on the global committee called "at risk" states to improve their preparedness for detection and lead imported cases, "as Uganda did".

"This is not a global emergency, there is an emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo, severe emergency and it can affect neighbors," Dr. Shenzhen Aawitsland, the acting chair of the panel told the UN conference on news. Agency's headquarters in Geneva.

"It was the opinion of the committee that there is really nothing to gain by declining a fic (Public Health Emergency of International Concern), but it is potentially a lot to lose."

Such a declaration would risk creating restrictions on travel or trade, "which could severely harm the economy of the Democratic Republic of Congo," said Aavitsland.

The director-general TEDROUS Adhanom Brethren, spoken by telephone from Kampala, said: "Ebola's spread to Uganda is a new development but the fundamental dynamics of the outbreak have not changed."

Uganda authorities now have a list of 98 contacts, or contacts of concessions, may be exposed to the Ebola virus, of which "high risk" is considered, has Mike Ranks, executive director of WHO's emergencies program. Vaccination of those contacts and health workers with a morbid experimental vaccine is to begin on Saturday, he said.

Some medical groups have requested the committee to explain an Emergency that would have boosted public health resources, funding, and resources.

Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University law school, voiced disappointment that the panel had failed to declare an emergency for the third time.

"The @ WHO was criticized for delaying declining FIC in W Africa. Will it fail in DRC affecting legality?" Gostin tweeted. He said he admired the panel members but disagreed with their conclusion.

Only four emergencies have been declared in the last decade, including the worst ever Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa in 2014-2016. The others were an emergency pandemic in 2009, polio in 2014 and the Zika virus in 2016.

Ryan told Reuters on Friday that there was no sign of local transmission of Ebola virus in Uganda.

"No evolution yet … but we are not out of the woods yet," he said. The incubation period is up to 21 days.

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