WHO predicts Ebola outbreak in DR Congo could end soon

Health workers from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry wait to monitor the temperature of travelers in a port of Bangui on June 3. The ebola outbreak is DR Congo’s ninth since the first in 1976. (AFP)
Updated 11 June 2018

WHO predicts Ebola outbreak in DR Congo could end soon

KINSHASHA: The director general of the World Health Organization said Sunday he believed a swift end could be put to the outbreak of Ebola in northwestern DR Congo, some 21 days which has left 27 people dead over the past month.
“I am cautiously optimistic that we shall be able to bring it to an end soon,” Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at Kinshasa airport.
Earlier, he had tweeted that “it’s far too early to declare victory in the #Ebola outbreak. But the signals are positive and we are cautiously optimistic.”
His comments come after the WHO and NGOs since May 21 began helping the Democratic Republic of Congo immunize front-line workers with a vaccine that has shown to be highly effective in trials, though it still awaits regulatory approval.
A total of 1,369 people have received the experimental vaccine since May 21, the ministry said last Wednesday.
Tedros is on an “evaluation” visit to the country as the WHO monitors the progress of surveillance teams of epidemiologists working to assess the situation after local authorities declared the outbreak in a remote part of the province of Equateur on May 8.
On Thursday the WHO gave a total of 59 confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases, of which 27 people had died with one new case confirmed on June 6.
But Tedros said the situation was improving with the last case in the town of Mbandaka diagnosed on May 20 and in the town of Bikoro, which saw the first case confirmed on May 17, with another confirmed on June 2 at nearby Iboko.
Tedros noted the cases were in “places which are not very accessible” and that the epidemiologists were going from village to village as they battled the logistical difficulties of covering ground as swiftly they could.
Bikoro is some 100 kilometers from regional center Mbandaka and 600 kilometers from Kinshasa, near the border with Congo-Brazzaville.
The outbreak is DR Congo’s ninth since the first in 1976.


Russia proposes new missile verification regime with US after demise of treaty

Updated 39 min 1 sec ago

Russia proposes new missile verification regime with US after demise of treaty

  • The United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Monday proposed that Russia and the United States agree not to deploy certain land-based missiles in Europe and introduce mutual verification measures to build trust following the demise of the INF nuclear arms control treaty.
The United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge denied by the Kremlin.
Global nuclear arms control architecture has come under further strain since then as the former Cold War foes have been unable to agree on a replacement to New START, another major arms control pact that is due to expire in February 2021.
On Monday, the Kremlin suggested “de-escalation” measures, such as allowing Russia to conduct checks on the US Aegis Ashore system in Europe, and the United States to check Russia’s 9M729 missiles in facilities in the exclave of Kaliningrad.
“We propose all interested sides to consider concrete options for mutual verification measures to remove existing concerns,” the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.
The INF pact had prohibited land-based missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.