Coronavirus fears in DRC as new Ebola case appears

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(11 Apr 2020) Congo has been battling an Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands of people for more than 18 months, and now it must also face a new scourge: the coronavirus pandemic.
Ebola has left those living in the country’s east weary and fearful, and, just as they were preparing to declare an end to the outbreak, a new case popped up. Now, they will now have to manage both threats at once.
In early March, an Ebola patient whom many hoped would be the last was discharged, and the outbreak was supposed to be officially declared over Sunday. But the World Health Organization announced on Friday a new case in Beni.  
The outbreak has claimed more than 2,260 lives since August 2018 — the second largest the world has ever seen, after the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa.
Still, there is some hope: Many of the tools used to fight Ebola — hand-washing and social distancing chief among them — are also key to combating the coronavirus.
”The coronavirus is really bad, so to survive we must stick to the hygiene measures that the health authorities are telling us,” said Aristote Basi, a 19-year-old Ebola survivor from Beni.
In Beni, which has reported two cases of the new coronavirus, community advocates — who walk around with megaphones to talk about Ebola — have started to include warnings about the coronavirus.
Messages explaining COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and where to go if sick are being spread on radio stations, through text message blasts and by religious leaders.
Schools, churches and mosques are already armed with hand-washing kits.  
Beni’s mayor, Nyonyi Bwanakawa, says many of the measures will be familiar — but the recommendations to stay home are more stringent than what is required for Ebola, and officials are prepared to take “dramatic measures” if people resist.
Katungo Methya, 53, who volunteers for the Red Cross in Beni, expressed a weariness many feel.
“It’s so upsetting to have this second disease. We lost so many people through Ebola, a lot of deaths, now corona,” she said. “Everyone is really afraid.”
Throughout the recent Ebola crisis, the mother of four has been teaching her neighbours of the precautions they need to take and is now sharing advice on what they should do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Unlike Ebola, which kills about half of the people it infects, the new coronavirus causes mostly mild or moderate symptoms in about 80% of people.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Spreading Ebola typically requires an exchange of bodily fluids, and people have often been infected when caring for loved ones or mourning in traditional funerals that involve close contact with the body.
In contrast, the new coronavirus is far more contagious and mostly spread by people coughing or sneezing, including those with only mild flu-like symptoms.  
That means the task of controlling the virus’ spread in Congo will be massive:
The new virus has overwhelmed some of the world’s best hospital systems in Europe and ripped through communities in New York.
In Congo, it could spread unchecked in a country that has endured decades of conflict, where corruption has left the the population largely impoverished despite mineral wealth, and where mistrust of authority is so entrenched that health workers have been killed during the Ebola outbreak.

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Comments

Jermane Lawrence says:

Political tricks run pipes to every 🏠 ASAP 👋🗯️💭🇯🇲💯

B W says:

Ebola re emerging isnt a good thing though🙄

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