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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 10:35 AM | 08-08-2014

Ebola now a global emergency, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday (8 August 2014) declared the killer Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of west Africa an international health emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries.

The decision was made after a two-day emergency session behind closed doors in Geneva. Global travel restrictions may be put in place to halt its spread as the overall death toll nears 1,000.

The WHO move comes as US health authorities admitted on Thursday that Ebola's spread beyond west Africa was “inevitable”, and after medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the deadly virus was now “out of control” with more than 60 outbreak hotspots.

WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan appealed for greater help for the countries worst hit by the “most complex outbreak in the four decades of this disease,” echoing an earlier claim by MSF that the epidemic is “unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution, people infected and deaths.”

“I am declaring the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern," Chan said, according to AFP.

In another worrying development, Benin -- to the west of the main affected countries -- said it had placed two patients with Ebola-like symptoms in isolation and was waiting for test results to establish if the pair were infected.

Ebola has claimed at least 932 lives, and states of emergency were in effect in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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