Nigeria officially declared Ebola free

WHO lauds "spectacular success story" as Nigeria declared free from Ebola after 42 days without new cases.

    Nigerians took the threat seriously with officials encouraging improved sanitation and basic hygiene [AFP]
    Nigerians took the threat seriously with officials encouraging improved sanitation and basic hygiene [AFP]

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Nigeria Ebola free, after a 42 day period with no new cases.

    "Nigeria is now free of Ebola," WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja on Monday.

    "The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated. This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained," Vaz said.

    Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Abuja, said the news had been welcomed by Nigerians.

    "The average Nigerian is relieved ... a lot of people have been quite scared. Officials want people to celebrate but to remain cautious.

    "Nigeria is a transport hub, and the virus can be brought back, and this is why officials are not taking any chances," Mutasa said.

    Nigeria becomes the second country in West Africa to be declared Ebola free in the past week. On Friday, the UN health agency declared Senegal free of Ebola after it passed the 42 day landmark.

    "WHO officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Senegal over and commends the country on its diligence to end the transmission of the virus," the WHO said.

    In all, eight people died out of 20 confirmed cases in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos, and the oil hub of Port Harcourt, while nearly 900 people were monitored for signs of the disease.

    More than 4,500 people have died and nearly 10,000 have been infected with the haemorrhagic fever, most of them in West Africa, since the start of the year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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