Africa Service staff – Vatican city
In spite of reports of the reduction in new Ebola cases, the Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said that measures aimed at minimising the risk of the spread of Ebola would remain in place until further notice. This comes as an AP Friday report indicated that the pace of new Ebola cases has slowed down one month after the outbreak was officially declared.
Administration of some Sacraments suspended
Local media reports in the DRC quoted Mgr. Jean-Marie Bomengola, the social communications secretary at the National Episcopal Conference known by its French acronym CENCO which stands for Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo. Mgr. Bomengola said the measures were temporary but would remain unchanged for now.
Some of the measures taken especially by Archdiocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro include the suspension of Baptisms, Confirmations, Anointing of the Sick or Ordinations in regions affected by the outbreak. Holy Communion was to be administered to the hand instead of the tongue. Handshakes as a Sign of Peace have also been suspended.
The pace of new cases slows down
An AP report Friday quoted DRC’s health ministry saying another Ebola case had been confirmed even as the pace of new cases slows down.
The DRC now has 38 confirmed cases of the virus, including 13 deaths, the country’s health ministry said. The newest confirmed case is in rural Iboko and is linked to a probable Ebola patient who died on 20 May, the ministry said.
Health workers scale up awareness raising
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vaccinated more than 1,000 people over the past two weeks, including health workers who are at high risk.
Health workers have visited more than 10,000 households in the town of Mbandaka to raise awareness about Ebola, WHO said. Exit screening measures have been put in place to prevent the international spread of the virus, and WHO said it is supporting efforts by nine neighbouring countries to scale up emergency response and preparedness.
WHO says the Ebola response will cost more than $15.5 million over nine months. This is the DRC's ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976 when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified.