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Deadly Ebola Outbreak 'Not Global Threat'   
 
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16-Jun-2019  
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The World Health Organization has decided not to declare a global emergency over the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The WHO said Ebola was "very much an emergency" in the region, but it did not pose a global threat.

However, it was damning of countries for giving less than half the money needed to deal with the disease.

The deadly outbreak - the second largest in history - has killed more than 1,400 people.

This week cases were detected across the border in Uganda, though the virus is not yet spreading there.

Declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern is one of the most important acts the WHO can take.

It has done so only four times before - including for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa which killed more than 11,000 people.

Such a decision usually means getting more money and healthcare workers to tackle an outbreak - or political support to stop the fighting to let medics get the job done.

So why is Ebola not a global emergency?

This was not a straightforward decision.

Dr Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the WHO's emergency committee, said there was extensive debate and differing views at the emergency meeting.

The outbreak met some of the criteria for a global emergency as it was both an extraordinary event and risked international spread.

However, he said efforts on the ground "would not be enhanced" by declaring an emergency.

Dr Aavitsland said: "This is not a global emergency, it is an emergency in DRC, it is a severe emergency."

But he warned declaring an emergency could lead to border closures or airlines refusing to fly to DRC, which could do more harm than good.

"There is nothing to gain, but there is a lot to lose," he said.

The WHO has previously discussed whether the Ebola outbreak in DRC should be declared an emergency on two occasions.

Both times it decided not to, in part because Ebola was deemed a threat in only in the region rather than internationally.
 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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