The World Health Organisation said it would launch a $100 million
response plan on Friday during a meeting with the affected nations
in Guinea. It is in urgent talks with donors and international
agencies to send more medical staff and resources to the region, it
The WHO on Thursday reported 57 new deaths in the four days to July
27 in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, raising the death
toll to 729. It said the number of Ebola cases had topped 1,300.
"The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it
poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the
response to a new level, and this will require increased resources,"
WHO Director General Margaret Chan said.
Sierra Leone's president, Ernest Bai Koroma, announced a series of
emergency measures, to initially last 60 to 90 days, in a speech on
"Sierra Leone is in a great fight. Failure is not an option," he
Security forces will enforce a quarantine on all centers of the
disease and help health officers and aid workers to work unhindered,
following attacks on health workers by local people.
Liberia has put in place measures including the closure of all
schools and a possible quarantine of affected communities.
The outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known
cure, began in the forests of eastern Guinea in February, but Sierra
Leone now has the highest number of cases.
Koroma said he would discuss ways to combat the epidemic with the
leaders of Liberia and Guinea at Friday's meeting.
The jump in the number of cases and the death toll has raised
international concern and placed poor health facilities in the
region under strain.
The United States was providing material and technical support to
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, said the senior U.S. diplomat for
Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
African officials will discuss further assistance at a meeting in
Washington next week, she said.
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday
issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea,
Liberia and Sierra Leone in an effort to curb the spread of the
CDC Director Thomas Frieden said the agency will send an additional
50 health experts to help efforts to control it.
Authorities in Nigeria, which recorded its first Ebola case last
week when a U.S. citizen died after arriving on a flight from
Liberia, said all passengers traveling from areas at risk would be
temperature-screened for the virus.
But international airlines association IATA said the WHO was not
recommending any travel restrictions or border closures due to the
outbreak, and there would be a low risk to other passengers if an
Ebola patient flew.
However, the Seychelles have forfeited their African Nations Cup
qualifying tie against Sierra Leone after the Indian Ocean island
nation refused Sierra Leone’s soccer team entry on Thursday over
[to top of second column]
NEW AIRPORT CONTROLS
The disease kills up to 90 percent of those infected, though the
fatality rate in the current epidemic is running at around 60
percent. In the final stages, its symptoms include external
bleeding, internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea - at which point
the virus becomes highly contagious. Sierra Leone said passengers
arriving and departing Lungi International Airport would be subject
to new measures, including body temperature scans.
Two regional airlines, Nigeria's Arik and Asky, canceled all flights
to Freetown and Monrovia after a U.S. citizen, Patrick Sawyer, died
in Lagos last week. He had arrived on an Asky flight from Liberia.
The WHO said authorities in Nigeria had identified 59 people in the
airport and hospital who had come into contact with Sawyer, whose
flight also stopped in Ghana and Togo.
Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority suspended Asky for bringing Ebola
to Lagos, a city of 21 million people and the continent's biggest
Health officials are scrambling to avoid an Ebola outbreak in Lagos,
but say there are so far no signs of further cases.
Ghana is introducing body temperature screening of all travelers
from West African countries at Accra airport and other entry points.
Authorities there are monitoring 11 passengers who disembarked from
The U.S. Peace Corps said it was withdrawing 340 volunteers from
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea after two of them came in contact
with a person who later died of the virus.
The condition of a U.S. physician and a missionary who contracted
Ebola while helping fight the outbreak in Liberia has worsened. They
will be transferred back to the United States and treated in a
high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital
officials said on Thursday.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Flynn in Dakar; Tom Miles in Geneva;
Tim Cocks in Lagos; Clair MacDougall in Monrovia; Adam Bailes in
Freetown; Kwasi Kpodo in Accra; Michele Gershberg and Colleen
Jenkins; Writing by Bate Felix and Daniel Flynn; Editing by Angus
MacSwan and Mohammad Zargham)
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