The authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have appealed for calm after the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the main eastern city of Goma.
The city is the biggest where a case of the killer disease has been confirmed since an outbreak started in eastern DR Congo in August last year, but the government said chances of it spreading were “low.”
The patient is a pastor who had been preaching at a church in another town, Butembo, where he would have touched worshipers, “including the sick,” the Congolese Ministry of Health said on Sunday.
His symptoms first appeared on Tuesday last week.
The preacher left for Goma from Butembo, one of the towns most affected by the outbreak, by bus on Friday, and arrived two days later where “the results of the laboratory test confirmed that he was positive for Ebola,” the ministry said.
“Given that the patient was quickly identified, as well as all the passengers on the bus from Butembo, the risk of the disease spreading in the city of Goma is low,” it added.
The other passengers, 18 in all, and the driver were to be vaccinated yesterday against Ebola, it said, and urged the population of one of Africa’s largest countries to “keep calm.”
However, two Ebola awareness campaigners were murdered in their homes over the weekend in North Kivu Province, where locals view foreign healthcare providers with deep suspicion.
The pair were killed after months of threats, the ministry said.
The UN had called a “high-level event” for yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss response and preparedness for the Ebola outbreak.
It was to be attended by government ministers from the DR Congo and Britain, and senior officials of the World Bank, the WHO and other UN agencies.
Health workers in Goma, which has a population of more than 1 million and is the capital of North Kivu Province, were vaccinated as early as December last year when the outbreak first hit Butembo, about 300km north.
The two towns are separated by poor roads under the threat of armed groups.
The latest Ebola outbreak in eastern DR Congo has killed 1,655 people, according to a ministry bulletin on Saturday.
Nearly 700 were cured, and a total of 160,239 people have been vaccinated against the highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, it added.
The outbreak is the 10th in the DR Congo in 40 years, putting all countries in the region on alert. It is the second-deadliest on record globally, after the epidemic that struck West Africa in 2014 to 2016 that killed more than 11,300 people.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for