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African Union agrees to lift Ebola movement ban

Meeting participants also recommended that member states put screening mechanisms in place as a means of containing the deadly virus.

African Union agrees to lift Ebola movement ban

World Bulletin / News Desk

Attendees of an emergency meeting of the African Union (A.U.)'s executive council held to address Africa's recent Ebola outbreak have agreed to lift a ban on the cross-border movement of people among member states.

"We have agreed that countries allow people to move," Ncosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the A.U. Commission, told reporters on Monday.

Meeting participants also recommended that member states put screening mechanisms in place as a means of containing the deadly virus.

No timetable has been given, however, for lifting the ban on cross-border movement.

Since the first case was reported several months ago, Ebola has claimed more than 2,000 lives in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

An estimated 4,000 cases of Ebola infection have been documented this year.

Monday's meeting was attended by senior government officials, along with the representatives of various organizations and civil society associations.

Most foreign ministers, however, failed to show up to the executive council meeting, which are usually held at the ministerial level.

Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.

It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.

The World Health Organization has described Ebola as "one of the most virulent" viruses in the world.

Liberia eases curfew, ends quarantine of Ebola hotspot

The Liberian government has adjusted a night-time curfew imposed throughout the country as part of efforts to battle an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African state.

The government said on Monday that the curfew will start from 11pm to 6am beginning today.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had imposed the curfew on August 20 to begin from 9pm until 6am.

Under the curfew order, all entertainment centers – including video clubs – closed by 6pm daily.

Security forces were ordered to arrest anyone caught in the streets after 9pm.

In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has claimed more than 2,000 lives in West Africa.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 431 people have died of the virus in Liberia.

On Monday, the WHO warned that the Ebola virus was spreading fast in Liberia, where many thousands of new cases are expected over the coming three weeks.

On July 7, President Sirleaf declared a 90-day state of emergency throughout the country due to the outbreak.

She had earlier ordered the immediate closure of all schools throughout the country and put all non-essential staff at government ministries and agencies on 30-day compulsory leave.

The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.

It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.

Ending quarantine

Meanwhile, the government lifted quarantine on Dolo Town, 75 kilometers (47 miles) east of Monrovia.

The government said that the lockdown was lifted after achieving successes in containing the Ebola outbreak in the town, which was quarantined on August 20, as well as West Point, a slum in the capital, over the spread of the deadly virus.

According to the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, the move was taken based on the advice of health authorities as well as in consultations with local and international partners involved with efforts aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak.

The quarantine on West Point was lifted last week.

The move to lift the lockdown has been met with jubilation in the town.

Resident in Adolphus Glayue told Anadolu Agency that jubilation began in the town when state radio announced that the community has been freed from quarantine.

He said that people from all quarters of the community flooded the streets chanting slogans of freedom.

Glayue, however, said that security officers were still preventing people from leaving the community apparently because they have not received orders from authorities to leave or stop barricading the area.

He said health workers had conducted Ebola test in the town prior to the lifting of the quarantine, but there has been no result of Ebola infection.

Senegal to open corridor to Ebola-hit neighbors

The government of Senegal on Monday said it had decided to open a "humanitarian corridor" to neighboring states hit by Ebola.

"A humanitarian corridor will be opened soon to allow humanitarian organizations help regional states hit by the deadly Ebola virus," the Senegalese Health Ministry said in a statement.

The government's decision comes only one week after the Ivory Coast opened a humanitarian corridor to its Ebola-hit neighbors.

Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly called on Senegal to establish a humanitarian corridor.

They also want to make the strategically-positioned country a regional base for providing humanitarian assistance to affected countries.

The Senegalese government, however, has yet to respond to the latter request.

On August 21, the Interior Ministry said it planned to close Senegal's border with Guinea due to fears of Ebola transmission.

Senegal has reported only one case of Ebola since the latest outbreak began in February.

Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2014, 09:53
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