Mozambique has set up checkpoints along its border with Malawi to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo from spreading to the country.
Hidayate Kassim, the provincial health director of the Zambezia region in Mozambique, told reporters that travelers arriving from Malawi will be monitored for the disease using a scanner, citing reports of “suspected” cases of Ebola in Malawi that have not been confirmed. Malawi has no direct border with Congo, but its neighbors Zambia and Tanzania both do.
Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases on Earth, with a fatality rate as high as 90%, and it is among a handful of illnesses that governments consider a threat to national security. The current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which began in August 2018, has infected more than 2,400 people and killed more than 1,800, making it the deadliest since a 2013 epidemic.
Mozambique hasn’t yet reported a case of Ebola, and the checkpoints are precautionary. It joins Rwanda in stepping up preventive measures. Congolese health authorities last week said they’d detected a third case of Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, a key trade hub of about 1 million people close to the Rwandan border.
Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, the Central African Republic, Burundi, South Sudan and the Republic of Congo all border the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization in July declared the current outbreak of Ebola an international public health emergency.
“Setting up Ebola checkpoints is a guideline given by a decision of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization to prevent the spread of the disease to other countries,” Kassim said.
The Mozambique scanners started operating on Saturday in the Milage and Morrumbala districts in Zambezia, and they are expected to expand to other areas that border Malawi.
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