WHO says DRC Ebola outbreak not an 'international' emergency

File: Cameroonian doctor Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung was shot dead on 19 April in an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo.

File: Cameroonian doctor Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung was shot dead on 19 April in an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo.

AFP/Isaac Kasamani

GENEVA - The World Health Organization said that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not qualify as an international threat, despite confirmed cases also in neighbouring Uganda.

WHO's emergency committee said that while the outbreak was a "health emergency in DRC and the region" it did not yet amount to "a public health emergency of international concern."

READ: Boy dies of Ebola in Uganda as virus spreads from DRCongo

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is in DRC reviewing the Ebola response, said he accepted the committee's advice. 

"Although the outbreak does not at this time pose a global health emergency, I want to emphasise that this outbreak is (for those affected) very much an emergency," Tedros told reporters. 

The WHO panel, which was formed in 2005, has used the label "public health emergency of international concern" only four times previously.

READ: Ebola cases in DR Congo break 2,000 mark

Those included the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic of 2009, the spread of poliovirus in 2014, the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016, and the surge of the Zika virus in 2016.

This is third time the committee has considered making the emergency call for the DRC outbreak, which has killed more than 1,400 people since it emerged in August last year. 

Source
AFP