The Latest: UN says Ebola not yet a global emergency

Health

In this photo provided by the International Rescue Committee, Congolese refugees wash their hands before being screened for Ebola symptoms at the IRC triage facility in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in Kyegegwa District in western Uganda, Thursday, June 13, 2019. The Congolese pastor who is thought to have caused the Ebola outbreak’s spread into Uganda was unknown to health officials before he died of the disease, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said Thursday, underlining the problems in tracking the virus. (Kellie Ryan/International Rescue Committee via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on the Ebola outbreak in Congo and Uganda (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

The World Health Organization says the Ebola virus outbreak in Congo — which spread to Uganda this week — does not yet merit being declared a global emergency but is “an extraordinary event” of deep concern.

The U.N. health agency convened its expert committee for the third time Friday to assess the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,400 people. Some experts say the outbreak met the criteria to be designated an international emergency long ago.

At a press briefing following the meeting, Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the committee, announced that the outbreak is “a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” but that the situation does not yet meet the criteria for being declared a global emergency.

The outbreak was announced on Aug.1 in eastern Congo and has become the second-deadliest in history, after the West African outbreak in 2014 that killed more than 11,300 people.

___

2:30 p.m.

The World Health Organization says it has opened its expert meeting to decide whether the Ebola outbreak in Congo — which spilled into Uganda this week — should be declared a global emergency.

WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on Friday the committee will “review and make recommendations regarding the Ebola outbreak.” An announcement is expected Friday evening.

The virus has killed more than 1,400 people.

To be declared a global emergency, outbreaks must constitute a risk to other countries and require a coordinated response. The declaration typically triggers more funding and political attention.

On Thursday, WHO’s emergencies chief acknowledged the agency has been unable to track the origins of nearly half of new Ebola cases in Congo, suggesting it doesn’t know where the virus is spreading.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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