Rwanda Reopens Borders with Democratic Republic of Congo After Ebola Outbreak

  • Rwanda closed its borders for about 14 hours, a decision that attracted the rapid disapproval by the Congolese Government.
  • The first case in Goma was confirmed in mid-July and was the result of an infected evangelist pastor who traveled from Butembo by bus and died.
  • The current Ebola outbreak in the DRC has already left 1,813 dead among 2,701 cases and has become the second most serious epidemic in the world.

Rwanda reopened its borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Thursday afternoon, hours after temporarily closing it  following the detection of a new case of Ebola in the Congolese city of Goma located a few meters away. “The border of Rwanda with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is open to travel as usual,” confirmed the Rwandan Ministry of Health in a press conference, in which he stressed that the country remains “free of Ebola.”

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, capital: Kinshasa), formerly known as Zaire and sometimes referred to as “Congo-Kinshasa” is, by area, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa (after Algeria), and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populous country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populous country in the world.

“To date, Rwanda remains free of Ebola, but it is strongly recommended that the public avoid any unnecessary trips to the affected area,” the ministry recalled.

This Thursday, Rwanda closed its borders for about 14 hours, a decision that attracted the rapid disapproval by the Congolese Government, whose economic well-being depends largely on trade and tourism with neighboring nations. This announcement coincided with the detection of the third case of Ebola in Goma, after confirming that the one-year-old daughter of a second Ebola patient had also contracted the virus. Infected in the Ituri mining area the child died yesterday in the city.

The first case in Goma was confirmed in mid-July and was the result of an infected evangelist pastor who traveled from Butembo by bus and died days later while being transferred to a treatment center.

The outbreak in the city of Goma

Ebola virus disease (EVD), also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) or simply Ebola, is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscular pain, and headaches. Vomiting, diarrhea and rash usually follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time, some people begin to bleed both internally and externally. The disease has a high risk of death, killing between 25 and 90 percent of those infected, with an average of about 50 percent.

According to the latest data from the Congolese Government, there are a total of 12 suspected cases in Goma and its surroundings that are waiting to be confirmed. More than 57,500 people pass each day through the two border crossings in Goma, “the small border” and “the large border,” according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The current Ebola outbreak in the DRC – tenth in the country’s history –  has already left 1,813 dead among 2,701 cases and has become the second most serious epidemic in the world, only surpassed by the one that crossed West Africa in 2014, with more than 11,000 deceased.

The outbreak is located in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri – bordering with South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda – and was declared by the Congolese Government exactly one year ago. Doctors in Goma are trying to stop the disease from spreading. Health workers have set up hand-washing points in different parts of the city. They say the treatment centers are well equipped and they have enough personnel. They’re also warning people to keep vigil and avoid unnecessary contact with each other and not to worry.  People in Goma are saying it’s very difficult to keep calm at this moment.

Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood and body fluids of an already ill person, causing hemorrhagic fever and can reach a mortality rate of 90% if not treated in time.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.


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