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WHO Urges Countries to Avoid Blanket Ban with Ebola-affected Countries

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Published on : Aug 18, 2014

The World Health Organization has requested governments to not sever ties with Ebola-affected states completely. The request comes after Kenya refused to carry on any form of trade or travel with the three West African states suffering from the deadly disease.

The international health organization has already stated that risk of Ebola transmission via air travel is minimal. However, it is the fear of epidemic reaching other states and countries that has driven airlines to disregard this advice.

Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman affirmed the scale of outbreak being the biggest ever in the history of medicine. This has precisely caused a global chaos pushing countries to impose a blanket ban on any interactions with the affected regions.

Kenya’s Health Ministry was declared on Saturday that it will not allow East African people to travel to and from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Only thing that is not included in the ban is Kenyans returning from those countries and Nigeria which allows entry of health professionals.

However, despite the stringent measures taken by Kenyan Government, the Keyan Airways reversed the decision announced it will continue flying to these countries. It flies about 70 flights to West African every week. This announcement has earned the airline a good amount of flak for putting profits ahead of medical safety.

Titus Naikuni argued that airlines are actually helping in containing the epidemic as it helps in transporting the staff, ensures supply of medical equipment, and helps the patients. This argument was firmly silenced by Kenya Medical Association  and the MPs stating that  Kenya Airways needs to suspend flights to the four countries till the epidemic comes under control. 

Some of the other airlines to suspend flights to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are ASKY Airlines, Arik Air, Emirates Airlines, and British Airways. Nigeria is the fourth Ebola-affected country after Liberian-American individual arrived in Lagos in an ASKY flight and infected other people before reaching his fatal end.

The Ebola-affected regions are reeling under economic pressures as international airlines are pulling out, companies are downsizing regional operations, and trade is put on hold. World Bank and International Monetary Fund cut down the economic growth estimate for Guinea to 3.5% from 4.5% as earlier projected.

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