WHO chief in Ebola battle urges halt to calm down travel

The World Health Organization chief said on Wednesday it was time to end travel business and trade restrictions to try to halt the spread of an outbreak in Congo that has spread rapidly and left hundreds dead.

After assessing the situation in Tambure Guinea and Sierra Leone and working with people who had traveled back home the WHOs European Regional Director for the outbreak Hans Kluge recommended stopping any international traveler from entering Congo.

We have seen the growth of this outbreak both locally (…) and in some form in Andhra Pradesh Kluge told a news conference in Geneva.

We have heard about cabinet decisions to immediately stop international travel trade and collection transport recall or quarantine Kluge said.

He said the nation of north Kivu province in northeastern Congo had become a new epicenter of the disease with more than 650 Ebola cases and 21 deaths. He said more than 4600 people were infected and 675 were killed he said adding that the outbreak was being stopped.

Despite taking a clear-out approach to stopping most travel he said he saw no need to immediately close borders (…) The situation in Tambure province is very tense he said.

The community is deeply concerned and we havent seen this level of mobilisation through activity of activists in communities (…) We are being guided by our data and feedback.

Travel ban orders given in May have perhaps delayed the spread of the disease he said.

He said probably one million people had been vaccinated 100 of whom he counted had recovered and been discharged.

WHO officials said the vaccine clean-up and treatment programme which began in November had thus far produced a vaccine for the disease.