GENEVA / EBOLA UPDATE

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19-Jul-2019 00:01:55
A fisherwoman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was infected and later died from Ebola virus did not travel to Rwanda despite “conjecture” to the contrary, the UN health agency insisted on Friday, noting that it remains extremely worried about all those who came into contact with the deceased. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / EBOLA UPDATE
TRT: 1:54
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 JULY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations.
2. Wide shot, podium and journalists.
3. Close up, journalist.
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Margaret Harris, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Conjecture turned into report; this was not accurate. What’s really important to know - and we have checked thoroughly - this woman did not ever travel to Rwanda.”
5. Med shot, journalists typing.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Margaret Harris, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“She had end-stage Ebola and she was vomiting. So we are very, very concerned about everybody who came into contact with that woman at that time.”
7. Med shot, spokesperson.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Margaret Harris, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We are absolutely certain, because what happened was, our team in Beni, based in Beni, went across and talked to everybody and tracked it day by day. Now, in her life, she may have gone to Rwanda. Everybody there is incredibly mobile, especially when it comes to trading, people are traders, they go all over the place. But the important thing is she did not spend any time in Rwanda while symptomatic. And as you know, Ebola is not transmitted until you are symptomatic.”
9. Med shot, journalists typing.
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Margaret Harris, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Essentially for the rest of the world, the main recommendation is: support DRC and don’t panic. Do not shut borders. Do not put on travel and trade restrictions. Do not panic. That’s a hard one and that is one of the things that makes this declaration something that the Committee were loath to do. Previously, there was a lot of Press saying they should be doing it. They were loath to do it for fear that the rest of the world would punish DRC, would isolate them, because after the declaration. So far I think the world’s been pretty good.”
11. Med shot, journalist.
12. Wide shot, podium.
13. Close up, journalists writing.
14. Med shot, journalists typing

STORYLINE:

A fisherwoman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was infected and later died from Ebola virus did not travel to Rwanda despite “conjecture” to the contrary, the UN health agency insisted on Friday, noting that it remains extremely worried about all those who came into contact with the deceased.

Speaking in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Harris from the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists that the 22-year-old trader had travelled from Beni in DRC to a Ugandan market earlier this month, as she did “regularly”.

Extremely ill, she returned home from Uganda and reportedly died four days later. The incorrect information that she had visited Rwanda came from the Ugandan authorities before appearing on a WHO web page, Dr. Harris said.

“Conjecture turned into report; this was not accurate,” she said. “What’s really important to know - and we have checked thoroughly - this woman did not ever travel to Rwanda…. She had end-stage Ebola and she was vomiting. So, we are very, very concerned about everybody who came into contact with that woman at that time.”

Every month, an estimated 1,100 people cross the border from DRC into Rwanda, according to WHO, which remains positive that its contact tracing teams have ruled out any chance that the virus reached Rwanda.

“We are absolutely certain, because what happened was, our team in Beni, based in Beni, went across and talked to everybody and tracked it day by day,” Dr Harris said. “Now, in her life, she may have gone to Rwanda. Everybody there is incredibly mobile, especially when it comes to trading, people are traders, they go all over the place. But the important thing is she did not spend any time in Rwanda while symptomatic. And as you know, Ebola is not transmitted until you are symptomatic.”

Highlighting that the deadly virus is just one challenge among many, Dr Harris noted that resource-rich DRC communities have to contend with measles and malaria, as well as violence that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people so far this year.

Paradoxically, she noted, the interest created by the decision to call the outbreak an international public health emergency might focus attention on securing a more peaceful and sustainable future for DRC’s struggling communities.

“Essentially for the rest of the world, the main recommendation is: support DRC and don’t panic,” Dr Harris said. “Do not shut borders. Do not put on travel and trade restrictions. Do not panic. That’s a hard one and that is one of the things that makes this declaration something that the Committee were loath to do. Previously, there was a lot of Press saying they should be doing it. They were loath to do it for fear that the rest of the world would punish DRC, would isolate them, because after the declaration. So far I think the world’s been pretty good.”

Latest information from the WHO indicates that the Ebola outbreak which began last August in north-eastern DRC’s Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces has claimed 1,705 lives out of a total of 2,532 cases.
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