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.


Australia plans to censor extremist online content

Updated 26 August 2019

Australia plans to censor extremist online content

  • The country will create a 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center for monitoring and censorship
  • Australia earlier set up a task force with tech giants to address spread of extremist material online

SYDNEY: Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during “crisis events,” the country’s prime minister has said.
Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.
The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers “demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” he said in a statement.
“That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”
Under the measures, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to restrict access to domains propagating terrorist material.
A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.
In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Australia set up a task force with global tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter to address the spread of extremist material online.
It is not yet clear how the measures will be enforced. Morrison has previously suggested that legislation may come if technology companies do not cooperate.