WHO flays trade and travel bans, as ebola spreads

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday rejected ebola-related travel and trade bans, as the virus that has killed more than 1,100 people continued to spread across West Africa. It said in a statement that the risk of getting infected with ebola during travel was “low.”

The statement added that while countries needed to strengthen their capacity to detect and contain new cases, they should avoid “unnecessary interference with international travel or trade,” stressing that actively screening passengers on arrival at sea ports, airports or border posts in countries not affected by ebola that do not border an affected country was not necessary.

Numerous airlines, including British Airways and Air France, have suspended services over the past weeks, while most West African countries have implemented tight border controls.

Port authorities in Ivory Coast, a key transit point for West African shipments, prohibited all vessels from the four ebola-affected countries – Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria – from passing through the country’s port in the capital, Abidjan.

The United Nations in Sierra Leone has also said the country needed an additional  US$18 million to fight ebola.

In July, Sierra Leone had appealed for US$26 million to contain the disease. The virus spread to 12 out of the country’s 13 districts, where 783 suspected or confirmed cases were reported of which 334 people died, according to the WHO. Additional funds were needed to improve clinical management

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