DR Congo urges calm after Ebola case in key city

- Agencies, KINSHASA

Jul 16, 2019-

Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have appealed for calm after a preacher fell ill with Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, the first recorded case of the disease in the region’s urban hub in a nearly year-old epidemic.

Goma, which has a population of around one million, is the capital of North Kivu province, the epicentre of an outbreak that has claimed more than 1,600 lives—the second highest toll in Ebola’s history.

In a statement, North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita stressed the new case “not only was detected at an early stage but also was isolated immediately, avoiding any further contamination.”

“I call on the population of the city of Goma and its outskirts to keep calm... (and) cooperate with response teams by observing hygiene and prevention measures and notifying any suspected case of Ebola,” he added.

According to the latest health ministry figures, issued on Saturday, 1,655 people have died from the notorious haemorrhagic virus since August 1 last year, when the disease broke out in North Kivu and spread to neighbouring Ituri.Nearly 700 people have been cured, and more than 160,000 been vaccinated.The Goma patient is a Christian pastor who had preached at a church in another town, Butembo, where he would have touched worshippers “including the sick”, the health ministry said Sunday.His symptoms first surfaced last Tuesday.

The preacher on Friday took a bus from Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak, and arrived two days later in Goma 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 pastor was swiftly taken back to Butembo, about 300 kilometres (180 miles) from Goma, the governor added.

Published: 16-07-2019 11:08

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