Saudi Arabia suspends visas for DR Congo citizens over Ebola fears

Saudi Arabia suspends visas for DR Congo citizens over Ebola fears

Saudi Arabia suspends visas for DR Congo citizens over Ebola fears

Riyadh's move came despite the World Health Organisation saying at the time of its worldwide emergency declaration that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel or trade because of Ebola and urging governments elsewhere in Africa and around the world not to "panic" in response to the decision.

Congo's government has not responded publicly.

The new decision affects anyone coming from Congo, including non-citizens.

The current Ebola outbreak has forced Saudi Arabia to suspend the granting of visas to pilgrims from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"There are people who have been preparing for years, sometimes 10 to put together the $4,250 (£3,400) and make this divine trip to Mecca", he said.

"Though the country has been declared free, the ministry of Health will continue to implement different measures to detect any possible Ebola importation since Uganda's good track of record in managing Ebola and in all previous outbreaks the disease was contained within the outbreak areas".

World Health Organization made the declaration on 17 July but urged countries not to restrict trade or travel.

Since the beginning of this Ebola epidemic in August 2018, a total of 2,522 EVD cases and 1,698 fatalities have been reported by the WHO.

Previously, Saudi Arabia suspended visas during West Africa's Ebola outbreak during 2014 in which more than 11,000 people died.

A vaccine by drugmaker Merck is being widely used in the affected provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.

But WHO has recommended the introduction of a second product made by healthcare company Johnson & Johnson, which could be used for populations removed from the epicentre, while saving limited stocks of the Merck vaccine for the frontlines.

Over the next six months, WFP will almost double its food assistance and nutritional support to 440,000 Ebola-affected people in DR Congo, Mr. Verhoosel announced, adding that this would include "primarily contacts of victims and their families, as well as confirmed and suspected cases".

"It is hard to fight a battle without your best ally at your side", Ryan told reporters when asked about CDC's deployment.

"But our colleagues in CDC have provided awesome support, both in DRC, in the surrounding countries, here in Geneva, in our operation centres in backstopping and providing high-level technical assistance to the response", Ryan said.

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