News / Africa

South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

  • Liberian security forces hem in protesters after clashes at West Point neighborhood in Monrovia, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Members of Liberian security forces talk with a protester in the West Point neighborhood in Monrovia Aug. 20, 2014.
  • West Point residents flee during clashes with security forces. Monrovia, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • Liberian security forces patrol a street after clashes at West Point neighborhood in Monrovia, Aug. 20, 2014.
  • A marketplace stands empty in the West Point quarantined neighborhood of Liberia's capital Monrovia, Aug. 20, 2014.
Protesters Clash With Security Forces in Monrovia.
VOA News

South Africa said on Thursday that due to fears over the spread of the Ebola virus it was banning travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering the country, apart from its own citizens.

South Africans returning home from these areas will be permitted entry but undergo a strict screening process, a health ministry statement said.

“For citizens of South Africa who wish to travel to these countries, they will be requested to delay their travels unless it is also absolutely essential for them to travel to these countries,” Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014

The deadly Ebola disease has killed more than 1,300 people this year in the three small west African states and also has a toehold in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy.

Travelers from Nigeria, where there is a much smaller outbreak, will be allowed entry.

South Africa has so far been Ebola-free despite two scares in as many weeks: a South African man returning from Liberia and a Guinean woman.

Both tested negative.

Johannesburg is a major hub for air travel between southern Africa and the rest of the continent. And, like many other African countries, it has taken up the travel ban in an attempt to contain the hemorrhagic virus and stop in spreading across the continent.

Congo deaths

At least 70 people have died in northern Democratic Republic of Congo from an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, denying that the illness was Ebola.

A WHO report dated Thursday and seen by Reuters said that 592 people had contracted the disease, of whom 70 died. Five health care workers, including one doctor, are among the dead.

Symptoms of the two diseases are similar; they include vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding.

But the fatality rate for this outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is much lower than the West Africa Ebola outbreak, at about 12 percent versus nearly 60 percent.

“This is not Ebola,” a WHO spokesman said in an email to Reuters on Thursday.

Kinshasa sent its health minister, Felix Kabange Numbi, and a team of experts on Wednesday to the region after reports of several deaths.

The hemorrhagic gastroenteritis outbreak began in the remote jungle province of Equateur where the first case of Ebola was reported in 1976, prompting speculation that it was the same illness.

WHO to discuss possible treatments

Also Thursday, the WHO said it would convene talks early next month on potential treatments and  vaccines to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The talks on Sept. 4-5 in Geneva will discuss safety and efficacy of experimental therapies and how to expedite clinical trials and ramp up production, it said.

ZMapp is one of several experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola that are currently undergoing investigation.

At present, supplies of all are extremely limited,'' the WHO said in a statement. It was referring to a U.S.-made trial drug, used on six patients to date, supplies of which are now exhausted.

In Liberia, a tense calm is reported in the West Point area of the capital, Monrovia, a day after riot police clashed with residents who tried to break a quarantine placed on the area in an attempt to contain the spread of Ebola.

At least four people were injured Wednesday when police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse stone-throwing protesters who were upset by the sudden blockade of roads in and out of their neighborhood. 

A nationwide curfew is also in place in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.

Liberia has been hit especially hard by the outbreak. WHO said 90 percent of new Ebola deaths reported have occurred there. 

UN expert

Meanwhile Thursday, the United Nations public health expert charged with coordinating global efforts to fight the spread of the virus was headed to Liberia.

David Nabarro has said his visit will focus on plans to revitalize health sectors in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the four countries where outbreaks have taken place.

The WHO says just under 2,500 people have been infected by the virus, with more than 1,350 people dying from it.

Elsewhere, Guinea has started deploying civilian and military medical officers to its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia as part of efforts to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.

Health Minister Colonel Remy Lamah said the first of the health workers left for the border checkpoints at Forecariah and Gueckedou Macenta late on Wednesday, where they would create a "sanitary barrier" and control suspected cases and contacts.

There are a total of 41 checkpoints where over 105 health workers are needed, officials said.

Also, the Health Service Executive (HSE) of Ireland said in a statement on Thursday that the country's health service is carrying out tests on a suspected case of the Ebola virus in a deceased person who recently returned from Africa.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Joshua from: Canada
September 07, 2014 7:17 PM
Why don't they find out what ebola is made of and have a test of what every organism is weak of

by: Tony P from: USA
August 21, 2014 2:09 PM
Is there reciprocal monitoring of workers in the West African oil drill platform and food supply to such both international and domestic, USA, British, (USA Gulf workers ) in particular?

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs