Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | Red Cross | China | West Africa

Red Cross: Ebola Outbreak Could be Over in 4-6 Months

Red Cross: Ebola Outbreak Could be Over in 4-6 Months
(Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 October 2014 02:28 PM

In just four to six months, the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa could be over.

That's the hopeful word from Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who said during a news conference in Beijing, where the group is holding its Asia-Pacific regional conference, that the world finally may be seeing the approaching end of the epidemic, NBC News reports.

Sy emphasized that his prediction is based on the establishment of "good isolation, good treatment of the cases which are confirmed," and "safe burials."

To date, more than 4,500 people have died in the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and elsewhere, including one death in the U.S., of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian native who died in Dallas.

The Centers for Disease Control stated last month that in a "worst case scenario," in Liberia and Sierra Leone, there could be 1.4 million deaths from Ebola by Jan. 20 if it is not effectively contained, The New York Times reported. The report also said the epidemic would be "almost over" by then.

Sy praised China's efforts in the fight against Ebola, when "many people were coming out and running away and others were very hesitant to send people."

"As some said it when I was in Sierra Leone and Guinea, it is only at this time that you know who your friends are, and definitely they see China as their friend," NBC News reported.

China has promised $35 million in medical aid to West Africa since the epidemic began and has sent nearly 200 medical personnel to help combat the epidemic, the Voice of America reports.

Without any public fanfare, China instituted strict border controls, channeling travelers from affected areas to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the only airports receiving direct flights from West Africa to China, into special processing lines when they arrive and scanning body temperatures, the South China Morning Post reports.

All passengers arriving from West Africa are "monitored" by health authorities for 21 days after arrival, but China has not explained what this monitoring process involves, other than to say that if symptoms are noticed, patients are placed in quarantine in two hospitals designated to treat the disease.

Chinese news agency Xinhua said that 5,437 people out of 8,672 who have arrived at Guangdong from West Africa since late August have tested negative and been released, without giving any details about the rest. "It also did not clearly say what it meant by medical supervision," VOA noted.

Despite calls from legislators to shut down the borders of the U.S. to travelers from West Africa until the epidemic is contained, the administration has refused to do so, although flights from affected areas have been restricted to just five airports, JFK, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, where passengers are subjected to additional scrutiny, the New York Post reports.

Sy said Ebola "creates a lot of fear and extreme panic that sometimes leads to very irrational type of behaviors and measures, like closing borders, canceling flights, isolating countries, etc."

"Those are not solutions. The only solution is how can we join our efforts to contain those kinds of viruses and epidemics at their epicenter," Sy said.

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In just four to six months, the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa could be over.
Ebola, Red Cross, China, West Africa
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 02:28 PM
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