GENEVA (Xinhua) --
The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed
Wednesday “cautious optimism” as the current Ebola outbreak in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been “largely
contained” with no new cases of the disease confirmed since the
last known sufferer died on June 9.
In a latest
situation report on the DRC Ebola outbreak, the WHO said the
situation in Bikoro and Wangata health zones in Mbandaka city,
the million-population urban area where Ebola cases were
confirmed, has remained calm since mid-May 2018 when the last
confirmed Ebola cases were reported.
The WHO and local
health authorities have identified all potential transmission
chains and all new suspected cases. The contact tracing system
is working effectively, while community engagement in remote
places has deepened.
progress, the WHO said there should be no room for laxity and
complacency until the outbreak is controlled.
Since the beginning
of the outbreak on April 4, a total of 62 Ebola cases and 28
deaths had been reported as of June 17. Of the 62 cases, 38 have
been laboratory confirmed, 14 are probable and 10 suspected. Of
the 52 confirmed and probable cases, 28 have died, giving a case
fatality rate of 54 percent. As of June 17, a total of 289
contacts were under follow up, of which 276 or 96 percent were
reached on the reporting date.
The WHO still
considers the public health risk to be very high at the national
The confirmed case
in Mbandaka, a large urban center located on a major national
and international river with road and air transport axes,
increases the risk of both local propagation and further spread
within the DRC and to neighboring countries. The risk at the
regional level is therefore considered high, while the risk at
global level is currently considered low.
Earlier in May, the
WHO decided that the Ebola outbreak in the DRC had not met
conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern, but maintained that if the outbreak expands
significantly, or if there is international spread, the
situation and the risk assessment will be re-evaluated.
Ninety percent of Ebola cases
Democratic Republic of the Congo: minister
KINSHASA Democratic Republic of the
Congo (Xinhua) -- At least 90 percent
of reported cases of Ebola have been vaccinated since the
operation began in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Minister of Health Oly Ilunga said
Ilunga told a press
conference that vaccination and free healthcare and
sensitization of the population in the health zones of Bikoro
territory affected by the epidemic have had a positive impact in
the response to Ebola virus disease in Equateur Province.
“These measures and
many others have helped to have fewer reported cases.
Vaccination has changed the attitude of the population and
avoided stigmatization, both in Bikoro, Itipo and Iboko,” said
declaration of the epidemic in May, at least 38 cases have been
confirmed in the laboratory in the health zone of Bikoro, with a
total number of deaths that is 27 with 13 confirmed by the Ebola
The DRC is at its
ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976. The last outbreak took place in
May 2017 in the province of Bas-Uele.
New test drugs to be used to
treat Ebola in
Democratic Republic of the Congo: WHO
GENEVA (Xinhua) --
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has approved the use
of five investigational therapeutics to treat Ebola virus
disease (EVD), marking the first time such treatments have been
available in the midst of an Ebola outbreak in the country, the
World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.
Four of the five
approved drugs are currently in the country, which are Zmapp,
GS-5734, REGN monoclonal antibody combination, and mAb114, under
the framework of compassionate use and expanded access, the WHO
in the treatment centers will make decisions on which drug to
use as deemed helpful for their patients, and appropriate for
the setting. The treatments can be used as long as informed
consent is obtained from patients and protocols are followed,
with close monitoring and reporting of any adverse events.
Earlier in May, WHO
convened a group of independent scientific experts to evaluate
investigational therapeutics for EVD during the current outbreak
in the DRC. They found that there are many pathogens for which
no proven effective intervention exists.
For some pathogens
there may be interventions that have shown promising safety and
efficacy in the laboratory and in relevant animal models, but
that have not yet been evaluated for safety and efficacy in
circumstances, such interventions undergo testing in clinical
trials that are capable of generating reliable evidence about
safety and efficacy. However, in the context of an outbreak
characterized by high mortality, it can be ethically appropriate
to offer individual patients investigational interventions on an
emergency basis outside clinical trials, WHO said.
According to WHO
statistics, as of Wednesday, a total of 58 EVD cases have been
reported, including 27 deaths, 37 lab-confirmed, 14 probable and
seven suspected cases. Information about the extent of the
outbreak remains limited and investigations are ongoing.
considers the public health risk to be very high at the national
level, and also sets the risk at the regional level at high
level. Globally, the risk is currently considered low, but WHO
said as further information becomes available, the risk
assessment will be reviewed.
Meanwhile, the DRC,
the WHO and partners have also developed a comprehensive
strategic response plan for points of entry to avoid the spread
of the disease to other provinces or at the international level.
The plan includes
mapping strategic points of entry and the locations of areas
where travelers congregate and interact with the local
population, and therefore are at risk of Ebola virus disease
transmission based on population movement.
The plan involves
implementing health measures at the identified points of entry
or traveler congregation points, such as risk communication and
community engagement, temperature checks, provision of hand
hygiene and sanitation materials, and the development of alert,
investigation and referral procedures.
The WHO, however,
has noted that the Ebola outbreak does not currently meet the
conditions for a public health emergency of international
concern, and that there should be no international travel or
United States imposes sanctions
on 14 entities connected with Israeli billionaire
WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) --
The U.S. Treasury announced on Friday that it has
imposed sanctions on 14 entities for their connections with an
already designated Israeli billionaire, accusing them of human
rights abuse and corruption.
The punished 14
companies were affiliated with Dan Gertler, an Israeli
businessman whom the Treasury claimed had amassed his fortune
through “opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”
sanctioning companies that have enabled Dan Gertler to access
the international financial system and profit from corruption
and misconduct,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism
and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said in a statement.
The sanctions would
freeze assets of blacklisted entities under U.S. jurisdiction
and ban any U.S. individuals or companies from making business
deals with them.
Gertler himself was
blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury last December.
The Treasury also
said on Friday that the entities were punished under the Global
Magnitsky Act, under which 73 individuals and entities have had
their assets blocked so far.
Democratic Republic of the
Congo polls to be
held on Dec. 23, foreign minister assures Angola
LUANDA Angola (Xinhua) --
A special envoy from the Democratic Republic of
the Congo (DRC) on Monday briefed Angolan President Joao
Lourenco on the DRC’s upcoming elections.
The DRC is committed
to holding general elections on Dec. 23, DRC Foreign Minister
Leonard She Okitundu told the press after meeting with Lourenco,
who is also president of the Southern African Development
Community’s political cooperation, defense and security body.
for the legislative and presidential elections will kick off on
July 24, the minister added.
Minister Manuel Augusto said it is in Angola’s interests that
the elections in the neighboring country take place without any
Initially marked for
Dec. 31, 2017, the DRC elections were rescheduled for Dec. 23,
2018 after the opposition demanded the departure of Joseph
Kabila, whose presidential mandate expired in 2016.
Kabila is barred from running for another presidential term.
The former president
has said he would comply with the electoral calendar.
According to media
reports, dozens were killed in recent demonstrations in capital
Kinshasa to stop Kabila from running for a third term.
Rwanda and Democratic Republic
of the Congo
mark boundary lines on shared frontier
KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
on Thursday physically marked their boundary on the shared
frontier adjacent to western Rwanda’s Rubavu district and
eastern DRC’s Goma town.
The demarcation took
place at the Rubavu-Goma common border on an occasion to mark
the eighth Africa Border Day.
minister James Kabarebe and DRC’s deputy prime minister Herny
Mova Sakanyi signed an agreement of the demarcation report after
Kabarebe said he is
confident that the two sides will expedite the demarcation and
materialization of the remaining section of the land needed to
be demarcated and Lake Kivu before 2022, the deadline set by the
African Union for all member states to demarcate and materialize
During the occasion,
the two countries also inaugurated a one-stop border post at the
Rubavu-Goma common border and 22 physical boundary pillars.
cross-border initiatives to improve border efficiency in
clearances are in place to cut down unnecessary costs and
duplication of operational services, Kabarebe said.
people cross the border each day through the border post
commonly called Grande Barriere on the Rubavu-Goma border and
45,000 people cross another Rubavu-Goma border post commonly
called Petite Barriere.
Africa Border Day is
marked in line with the African Union Border Program, aimed at
addressing the persistence of lack of delimitation and
demarcation of African boundaries that gives rise to undefined
zones and developing cross-border initiatives.