Rwanda closes border with DR Congo


Rwanda has closed its border with Democratic Republic of Congo, a week after it had announced it would not do so, following confirmation of a third case of Ebola in the nearby city of Goma.

The closure comes after a man died of Ebola in Congo's major city of Goma, which is on the Rwandan border. The painstaking work of finding, tracking and vaccinating people who had contact with the man - and the contacts of those contacts - has begun.

Rwanda, which has been commended by the Word Health Organisation (WHO) on its Ebola preparedness efforts, has been on a high alert since the first case of Ebola outbreak was reported in Goma last month.

To mark Thursday's first anniversary of the current outbreak being declared, United Nations agencies issued a joint statement on Wednesday, saying there have been more than 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths, in parts of DRC's Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

September 5: Congo says the outbreak spreads to Butembo, a city of more than 1 million people.

Rwandan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ministry, Olivier Nduhungirehe, said: "Yes it has been closed, but for details, you can call immigration and ministry of health because it is about Ebola".

World Health Organization (WHO) officials have feared Ebola's arrival in the city for months.

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The biggest crossing point between the two countries was reopened after 12 hours, while a smaller one was expected to reopen later on Thursday.

Slowdowns in traffic at the border had been caused by increased screening for Ebola not a shutdown, Gashumba said.

In a statement yesterday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the risk of the spread of the epidemic is high. Goma, home to two million people, is the capital of North Kivu and lies just across the border from the Gisenyi. He arrived on July 13 from a mining area in northeastern Congo's Ituri province and started showing symptoms on July 22.

A second patient died in Goma on Wednesday after he sought treatment too late and was already bleeding, authorities said.

According to a report by the AFP news agency, a third person - believed to be the miner's daughter - is also infected. Symptoms such as fever can be confused with malaria, which is endemic in the region.

The declaration of a global health emergency - the fifth in history - came days after that first Goma case.

October 2: Red Cross workers are attacked by community members in an early sign of resistance to Ebola response efforts in a region where the virus had never been recorded before.