Published: Mon, July 29, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Saudi Arabia bans Hajj pilgrims from DR Congo over Ebola outbreak

Saudi Arabia bans Hajj pilgrims from DR Congo over Ebola outbreak

As of July 12, there have been 2,477 Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that have resulted in 1,655 deaths.

"The granting of arrivals visas for people entering from DR Congo has been stopped, to conserve the well being of pilgrims", the ministry said.

The current wave of infections in Beni has involved more cases and is now longer than the initial wave in that region, early in the outbreak, which began nearly a year ago.

"The aim of this forum is to mobilize adequate resources to respond to the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in the DRC, which was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of global concern on July 17th, 2019", the statement read.

Aceng said Uganda is safe and all national and global travelers are free to travel to and within the country.

About three percent of DRC's population is Muslim, according to polling by the New York-based Congo Research Group.

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Each year, millions of Muslims from all over the world make the trip to Mecca each year to observe the Hajj pilgrimage. "We have been highly critical of the World Health Organization and its leader, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for their unconscionable delay in formally recognizing this outbreak as a public health emergency in DRC but also as the significant global health threat it poses to the world".

It's the first time vaccines have been deployed against the killer virus discovered in 1976. AHF recently donated thirty-thousand dollars' worth of medical supplies to Uganda to help protect medical staff in Western Uganda near the DRC border.

The AU has been implementing various response measures through its specialized agency the Africa Centers for Disease, Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) to support the central African country in the fight against the epidemic, mainly through the deployment of health volunteers and financial contribution.

World Health Organization now has over 600 staff in the field, with 200,000 person-days spent in the field in total, but emergencies chief Mike Ryan told reporters that many agencies could redouble their efforts and deploy more people in the field.

Ryan said the progress being made is substantial, but challenges remain.

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