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UN Ebola head warns against complacency as fight enters last lap


UNMEER head Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. UN Photo/Martine Perret. Source:

UNMEER head Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. UN Photo/Martine Perret. Source:

The head of the UN’s Ebola fighting force on Sunday warned against complacency as the fight against the disease entered its final lap, hailing Guinea for tightening surveillance.

Mauritanian Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s comments came a day after Guinea announced a health emergency in five regions in the south-west and west for 45 days.

Since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013, more than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and over 10,000 of them have died. All but a handful of those deaths have occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“On behalf of the international community and the United Nations, I hail this brave decision,” Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

“Guinea has made tremendous efforts,” he said. “There have been very positive results but we are now at the most critical moment… the last phase in the fight against Ebola.”

“Our biggest enemy today is complacency,” he said.

The World Health Organization declared in January that the epidemic was finally declining in west Africa after the three countries at the epicentre recorded a steady drop in cases.

But renewed concern has been triggered by fresh setbacks in the worst-hit nations.

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