Annan criticises Ebola response

Published: Friday 17th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan has criticised the international community for its response to the Ebola crisis, as a Royal Navy ship prepares to leave for Sierra Leone to help tackle the outbreak.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight Mr Annan said he had been “bitterly disappointed” that developed countries had not moved faster on the issue.

“If the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently,” he said.

“In fact when you look at the evolution of the crisis, the international community really woke up when the disease got to America and Europe.

“And yet we should have known that in this interconnected world it was only a matter of time.

“I point the finger of blame at the governments with capacity … I think there’s enough blame to go around.”

US President Barack Obama has given the go-ahead to the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to help fight the disease in West Africa, and said he may appoint someone specifically to head America’s response to the virus.

The US has faced criticism after Amber Joy Vinson, a nurse with Ebola, was allowed to board a flight from Ohio to Texas despite telling officials she had a fever.

The World Health Organisation has reported a total of 8,997 cases of Ebola, including 4,493 deaths up to the end of October 12, the vast majority of them in the three west African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Premier League clubs have said their doctors will closely monitor players who are returning from African Nations Cup qualifiers.

David Cameron has urged other European countries to introduce Ebola screening regimes at airports, warning they “must do more” to halt the spread of the killer disease.

The Prime Minister, who chaired a Cobra emergency meeting yesterday, will use a summit in Brussels next week to push for more funding and assistance for West African states struggling to contain outbreaks.

But he has also voiced doubts about the quality of protection in place in Europe, saying other governments should emulate the checks brought in by the UK.

A Downing Street spokesman said the meeting heard that the Chief Medical Officer still regarded the risk to the UK as “low”.

British Army medics arrived in Sierra Leone yesterday to work at a UK-supported treatment centre, which has 12 of its 92 beds set aside for healthcare workers who risk infection while treating others.

RFA Argus will set sail from Cornwall today and is due to reach the area by the end of the month with a further 225 military personnel from a total planned deployment of 750.

Published: Friday 17th October 2014 by The News Editor

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