Rwanda closes border with Congo over deadly Ebola outbreak

By SALEH MWANAMILONGO and IGNATIUS SSUUNA, KINSHASA, Congo, Aug 1 (AP) — Rwanda closed its border with Congo over the deadly Ebola outbreak on Thursday, while a Congolese official said a person who had contact with the second confirmed Ebola case in the border city of Goma was receiving treatment after showing signs of the disease.

The Ebola coordinator for North Kivu province, Dr. Aruna Abedi, told The Associated Press that the person in treatment is a suspected case. It was not immediately clear whether the person is a family member of the man who died on Wednesday. He had spent several days at home with his family while showing symptoms.

If this suspected case is confirmed, it could be the first transmission of Ebola in this outbreak inside Goma, a city of more than 2 million people on the Rwandan border.

The developments came as the outbreak that has killed more than 1,800 people entered its second year. It is now the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history and last month the World Health Organization declared it a rare global emergency.

WHO has recommended against travel restrictions amid the outbreak but says the risk of regional spread is “very high.”

In this Sunday, July 14, 2019 photo, burial workers put on protective gear before carrying the remains of Mussa Kathembo, an Islamic scholar who had prayed over those who were sick, and his wife, Asiya, to their final resting place in Beni, Congo. Both died of Ebola. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Rwanda’s state minister for foreign affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed the border closure to The Associated Press on Thursday, a day after WHO officials had praised African nations for keeping their borders open. Last week Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas to people from Congo while citing the Ebola outbreak, shortly before the annual hajj pilgrimage there this month.

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