Relatively conservative authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have declared a state of emergency and locked down communities where a new Ebola case was detected alarming medical groups and activists and provoking a backlash among the travel-loving masses.
The announcement of the emergency comes after weeks of conflicting messages with health authorities saying there was no need for travel to and from the capital Kinshasa.
We must warn against travel to Kinshasa said one of the health workers who presented new advice at the end of March.
On Thursday Shaun Malinos 33 acknowledged that this is the Ebola virus theyve got it. So dont go on trips dont go on medications (. . . ) I am quite sure that it will not kill you he told Reuters Health. But he said the disease had spread in Kinshasa to surrounding villages adding that people who had come into contact with it were isolated.
Community transmission is possible he said.
There are fears of potentially deadly roaming from one Ebola patient to another and apparently from the villagers who became infected are now infectious meaning they should be screened by health workers he warned. If you are giving the correct dosage it kind of explains the double negatives he said.
The overall death toll from the deadly virus in Congo – the third largest of sub-Saharan African countries – has risen to 277 and the total number of confirmed cases stood at 23186.
Amateur biomedical researchers known for their research on Ebola have warned in recent years of possible pockets where the virus could spread further and become more deadly.
Joseph de-Almeida head of governmental relations at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which has represented patients and Mdecins du Mali a leftist rebel group in Congo said the widespread lockdown – including curbs on movement within the city of Mbandaka – had put extra pressure on his group.
This has of course increased our fears that there will be big fights in coming years on a range of issues related to travel he said.