South Sudan restricts movements on border with DR Congo over Ebola

By The Eastafrican

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South Sudan has restricted the movements of people and goods along its borders with the DR Congo over the Ebola spread fears.

Health minister Riek Gai Kok announced on Thursday that the risk of the Ebola spread to South Sudan was high due to the proximity between the two countries.

“While cases of Ebola Virus Disease have not yet been detected in South Sudan, the risk is high because of movement of people from DR Congo into South Sudan,” he said.

An isolation facility

Our worry is the influx of people, so we are concerned about the Juba International Airport, the airstrips and land entries in Western Equatoria that borders the DR Congo, he added.

Dr Kok said the Interior ministry had been asked to restrict the movement of people and screen those entering South Sudan.

He disclosed that an isolation facility had been set up at the Juba Teaching Hospital, to respond to any suspected Ebola cases.

Also, the minister went on, a health team had been deployed to Western Equatoria to monitor and respond to any suspected cases.

The WHO representative for South Sudan, Mr Evans Majani Liyosi, said there should be no border closure, noting that the level of risk for South Sudan was still low.

“We don’t recommend border closure now for both countries,” he said.

“We are not waiting for a thunder to strike. We are ready and prepared to respond to it,” he said.

The disease

South Sudan has previously been hit by Ebola in 1976-1979 and 2004, claiming dozens of lives.

DR Congo declared an Ebola outbreak last week in the western side of the country, whose spread has since been reported

WHO said it had sent vaccines to respond to the disease and contain it.

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