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Public advised: Avoid travel to Ebola hit DRC

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Botswana Passport
The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH&W) has advised the public to avoid or postpone travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This comes after the recent Ebola death toll in that country rose to17, with about 21 suspected cases. According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Doreen Motshegwa, there are not yet restrictions of movement between the two countries.  But she cautioned the public to avoid or postpone travel to DRC more especially affected provinces in that country. She further advised travellers to take all necessary precautions.

“We have placed health practitioners at different border posts to evaluate people coming into the country from the affected country,” she said.

“They screen travellers for any sings of the disease and if there can be an instance where we suspect that a traveller has the disease we can place them in an isolation room till such person is being cleared. We want to assure the public that we are ready to contain the disease in case it can occur in our country.”

The outbreak began in rural northwestern DRC in a remote location of Bikoro. It was recently reported on shore of Lake Tumba. The virus has now spread to Mbandaka, a major transport hub that is home to more than a million

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people and connected by river to several other large cities.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report of May 28, 2018, recent confirmed Ebola cases have escalated to 35, 13 probable cases and three suspected cases making a total of 51 including 25 deaths.

“Case numbers can fluctuate on a daily basis due to many factors including enhanced surveillance, local laboratory capacity, possible communication delays caused by the challenge of accessing remote locations and constant reclassification of cases,” it stated.

“Suspected cases with conclusively negative laboratory tests are systematically removed from the case counts.”

According to reports, the Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the most severe since the 2014 calamity in West Africa that killed over 11,000 people.

By the last week of May the same year, there have been over 20 deaths linked to this outbreak and over 50 suspected cases.

DRC borders Angola and Zambia. Botswana and Zambia share a border and movement between these two countries is heavy, hence the need for both the government and public to be vigilant so as to avoid the virus from finding its way into the country.



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