The Democratic Republic of Congo had on Monday hoped to declare an end to the country’s deadly 20-month-long Ebola epidemic. But in the run-up to the long-awaited deadline, the country reported two new Ebola deaths, a resurgence that comes as the country fights to stamp out the coronavirus.
Hopes had been high that the World Health Organisation (WHO) would on Monday officially bring the curtain down on the country’s 10th known outbreak of the notorious haemorrhagic fever.
But on Friday, a 26-year-old man was listed as having died from the disease, and on Sunday, health authorities reported that a young girl who had been treated in the same health centre in the northeastern city of Beni, an epicentre of the outbreak, had also passed away. On Monday, the WHO said another young girl who had visited the clinic had started showing Ebola infection symptoms.
The Ebola epidemic, which began in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on August 1 2018, has claimed 2,276 lives, according to an official tally.
The outbreak can only be declared officially over after 52 days without any new cases, which is equal to twice the virus’ incubation period.
The resurgence of the deadly virus means that DR Congo is now fighting two extremely infectious diseases, including also the deadly coronavirus.
“Morally it’s very discouraging since we’ve worked for a year and a half, two years, on this epidemic and [we could finally] start to breathe easy. Then suddenly we have to start from zero again. It’s a psychological blow,” Doctor Lusungu Mutuza told FRANCE 24.