Rwanda Briefly Shuts Congo Border Over Ebola Fears

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Sharma said: "Ebola has already taken far too many lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo".

A second person has died after contracting Ebola in Goma, a major transit hub in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Rwandan border, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The announcement to close the border came just hours after a third case of Ebola was recorded in Goma, widening the scope of the epidemic on its first anniversary.

When asked if the outbreak was slowing down, Walke said that it "continues at the same pace" and shows "no evidence of slowing", adding that the agency was "supportive" of the WHO declaration of a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern). "It's the daughter of the patient who died yesterday", Aruna Abedi, Ebola response coordinator in North Kivu province said.

The controversial decision comes after a third case of the killer virus was confirmed in Goma, a densely populated city located more than 350 km (220 miles) south of where the outbreak was first detected.

The first confirmed case in Goma was a 46-year-old preacher who managed to pass through three health checkpoints on the way from Butembo.

"On a unilateral decision by the Rwandan authorities, Rwandan citizens can not leave for Goma", the Congolese presidency statement said.

Rwanda has a detailed National Preparedness Plan in place and is training health workers in early detection and response, educating communities about Ebola, vaccinating health workers in high-risk areas, equipping health facilities, and conducting simulation exercises to maintain a high level of readiness, WHO said.

A government official told The EastAfrican that the Ministry of Health would give more details on the border closure but confirmed that the move was due to fears of the spread of the deadly virus.

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May 3: Congo's health ministry says more than 1,000 people have died in the outbreak.

Ebola is affecting two provinces of DR Congo - North Kivu and Ituri.

Ebola has killed two people in Goma so far: a priest last month and an artisanal miner earlier this week.

Last week the DRC's health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, resigned in protest of the country's handling of the Ebola outbreak.

"Traffic between Goma and (the neighbouring Rwandan city) of Gisenyi resumed on Thursday afternoon after being closed in the morning without explanation", a statement from the Congolese presidency said.

The disease is spread by contact with infected body fluids and is fought with time-honoured but laborious techniques of tracing contacts and quarantining them.

They said the mainly Congolese healthcare workers on the front line were "heroic", but the response was hard because of ongoing violence in the region.

Ebola caused global alarm in 2014 when the worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing over 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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