Leaders of West African nations plagued by Ebola said the deadly virus is outpacing the world’s response to it, jeapordising the future of the entire African continent.
“Ladies and gentleman, unless we quickly contain and stop the Ebola epidemic, nothing less than the future of not only West Africa – but perhaps even Africa is at stake,” Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank, said on Thursday at a meeting on the Ebola response.
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“Our people are dying,” Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Thursday by videoconference at the meeting. Koroma said the world is not responding fast enough as doctors and nurses continue to die.
A Uganda-born doctor, John Taban Dada, died early on Thursday of Ebola at a treatment centre on the outskirts of Liberian capital, Monrovia.
He is the fourth doctor to die in the West African country since the outbreak. Over ninety health workers, including nurses and physician’s assistants, were killed by the virus.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) latest figures, 3,865 people have been killed of Ebola, mostly in West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
WHO said Liberia and Sierra Leone, the worst-hit countries, have enough beds to only meet a quarter of their needs.
Liberia polls suspended
Liberia has suspended its nationwide Senate polls after the election commission admitted it would not be able to stage the ballot safely, according to a government statement. No new date was given.
Almost three million voters had been due to go to polling stations on Tuesday to elect half of its legislative upper chamber, but organisers said there was no way a “mass movement, deployment and gathering of people” could go ahead without endangering lives.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was exercising powers under a state of emergency announced in August “to suspend… any and all rights ordinarily exercised, enjoyed and guaranteed to citizens,” the foreign office said in a statement issued late on Wednesday, quoting a presidential proclamation.
The election commission said in a statement it had recommended the postponement because it could not conduct “a free, fair, transparent and credible election” because of the epidemic.
A British man suspected of contracting the Ebola virus has died in Macedonia, a senior Macedonian government official said on Thursday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters a second Briton had also shown symptoms of the virus.
He said the two had been staying at a hotel in the capital Skopje and that hotel staff and the ambulance crew that took
them in for treatment had been put into isolation.
In Australia, a 57-year-old Red Cross volunteer, who returned on Tuesday from Sierra Leone to the town of Cairns, is suspected of being infected. The woman has confined herself to her apartment, and health authorities insist there is no cause for alarm.
“She has a flatmate but she hasn’t been unwell at all till this morning and she’s had a low grade fever,” Jeannette Young, Queensland chief health office, said on Thursday, adding that the patient does not have any bodily fluids symptomatic of the disease, such as vomit or diarrohea, and “therefore her risk of infecting someone else is very, very low.”
And in Spain, the health of the world’s only known case of an Ebola infection outside Africa worsened on Thursday.
Spanish 44-year old Teresa Romero was intubated because of “something to do with the lungs,” her brother, Jose, told reporters outside the Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, where his sister is kept.
Intubation involves inserting a plastic tube into a patient’s windpipe. The procedure is usually done to help patients breathe better either with or without a respirator or to administer drugs.
A total number of seven people are being monitored at the center, health officials said Thursday.
Meanwhile in Germany, a man infected in Liberia arrived on Thursday at a hospital in Germany for treatment, the third Ebola patient to be flown to the country.
The St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig said the man, who works for the United Nations in Liberia and whose name wasn’t given, will be treated in a special isolation unit.