Ivory Coast closes western borders over Ebola threat

ABIDJAN Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:48am EDT

People walk past health workers wearing protective masks and gloves at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

People walk past health workers wearing protective masks and gloves at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan August 12, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Luc Gnago

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ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has closed its land borders with Ebola-affected West African neighbours Guinea and Liberia in an attempt to prevent the world's deadliest outbreak of the virus from spreading onto its territory, the government announced.

A number of African nations have defied advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and put in place restrictions on travel to and from the countries where Ebola has appeared, which also include Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The Philippines on Saturday ordered 115 troops to return home from peacekeeping operations in Liberia due to the outbreak there.

Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, had previously imposed a ban on flights to and from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

"Faced with new outbreak sites and the reactivation of old sites...the Ivorian government decides to close its land borders with sister republics Guinea and Liberia," said a statement read on state-owned television late on Friday.

Liberia's Nimba County, which shares a border with Ivory Coast, has seen the number of Ebola cases balloon in recent weeks. According to Moses Massaquoi, the head of Ebola case management at Liberia's health ministry, 65 cases including 25 confirmed patients have now been reported there.

"The number of cases in Nimba has spiked recently and it is now an area of concern," Massaquoi told Reuters.

Ebola has killed 1,427 people out of 2,615 known cases identified since the West Africa outbreak was first identified in Guinea in March, according to WHO figures released on Friday.

However, families hiding infected loved ones and the existence of "shadow zones" where medics cannot go mean that the true scale of the epidemic is unknown, the U.N. health agency said.

The WHO has repeatedly said it does not recommend travel or trade restrictions for countries affected by Ebola, saying such measures could heighten food and supply shortages.

(Reporting by Joe Bavier; Additional reporting by Clair MacDougall in Monrovia; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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Comments (3)
rwaynewright wrote:
Countries have no other options. When the peasants knowingly loot diseased bedding from clinics and hospitals, they ensure the disease will spread beyond the authorities ability to contain or treat it. This is no time to stand on humane principles with the whole world at risk. All it will take is one infected person in a crowd to make this a global pandemic.

Aug 23, 2014 8:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
notfooled2 wrote:
I understand that the basic load for infection is 1 to 7 virus, I also understand that it’s not airborne, next they say it’s spread by body fluids. What happens when someone has a fever and is contagious sneezes, or coughs in their hand and touches things. Then you touch a surface and touch your face.

I understand that the American doctor is thought to have contacted it while having dinner with another health worker that was developing a fever.

I think it’s just getting started.

Aug 23, 2014 12:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DmitrR wrote:
Grin fate ….
Game “Plague inc.” in real life

Aug 23, 2014 9:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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