Further update following the deterioration of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Unfortunately, we are under the obligation to communicate again with all our clients, partners and colleagues shortly after our most recent update on 31st July as the situation has deteriorated and new information has been released on 1st August. Since our first alert concerning the matter on 17th July, Europ Assistance has been carefully monitoring the evolution of the Ebola Virus Fever epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which was declared a Public Health Emergency of International concern by the WHO on 17th July 2019. The concern regarding potential spread in Goma itself, a large city of a million inhabitants where a first case had been identified that week, has now unfortunately materialized and there has been - as of 1st August - three deaths related to Ebola reported. The overall numbers last reported 28th July were:
2713 Total cases
1823 Total deaths
Confirmed: 1729 Probable: 94
Fears of transmission across the nearby borders of Uganda and Rwanda have led the latter, which had just been commended for its preparation efforts by the WHO, to temporarily close its border with the DRC on 1st August. Further contamination given the international air travel between Goma and the rest of the world via connections must be prevented among others by stringent outbound triage measures for passengers. Air traffic must be maintained among others to allow aid efforts to continue and even increase.
The recommendations from Europ Assistance to its clients remain totally identical to those previously made, namely to:
- Avoid any travel to the Eastern DRC unless directly involved in the fight against the outbreak
- If involved in the fight against the outbreak vaccination should be considered
- Have no contacts with people affected by the disease or their contacts, including at funerals
- Do not eat bush meat
- Do not travel out of the country and be screened if you have any symptoms such as fever or diarrhoea.
There ought to be no restrictions regarding travel to neighbouring countries or unaffected areas of the DRC.