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Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

Liberia, S/Leone presidents back out of US-Africa summit

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Johnson-SirleafBy Ese Ahwotu & Doyin Ojosipe with agency report

Two African leaders have cancelled their trip to U.S. for the US-Africa summit next week over Ebola outbreak.

The president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has canceled his trip to Washington due to the deadly Ebola outbreak in his country. He said in a statement online that he is canceling his planned trip to Washington as he declared a health emergency in his country. The leaders of Guinea and Liberia also reportedly are canceling their plans to attend the summit.

Mr Kotoma is implementing measures aimed at tackling the Ebola virus, including quarantines and a ban on most public meetings.

The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 729 people across West Africa and has infected two U.S. health care workers.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced that certain borders of the country will be closed until the contagion is under control.

This is even as the Liberian president has closed down all the schools in the country in an attempt to address the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

She also declared tomorrow, Friday, a work-free day to enable health workers in the country to disinfect and chlorinate all public facilities.

She has therefore suspended her participation at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC next week, and thus sent the Vice President, Joseph Boakai and a handful of officials to attend the summit on her behalf.

The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has declared a state of emergency for Ebola and cancelled his participation at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.

“I hereby proclaim a State of Public Emergency to enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak,” Reuters quoted him as saying in a speech late on Wednesday, adding that the measures would initially last between 60 and 90 days.

Ghana said on Thursday, it was immediately introducing body temperature screening of all travellers from West African countries at Accra airport and other major entry points, with isolation centres being set up in three towns.

The U.S. issued a travel warning Thursday for three African count and President Obama said US will go forward with a summit in Washington next week featuring African leaders.

The State Department issued the travel warning for Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three countries hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the presidents of the West African countries affected by Ebola have launched a $100 million plan to combat the dreaded disease.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will meet in Conakry, Guinea on Friday with the presidents of affected West African nations, it said in a statement.

In Nigeria the Minister of Health, Professor C.O Onyebuchi Chukwu has revealed that, no new case of Ebola virus infection has been reported, after the death of the first victim of Ebola in Nigeria, even though all hands are still on deck, taking preventive measures to stop the spread of the deadly disease from circulating the country.

In a press briefing yesterday, the Minister urged Nigerians not to panic, but remain calm as Federal Government is doing all within its power to stall circulation of the disease.

Also speaking at the briefing, Minister of Communication, Mr Labaran Maku pleaded with media houses, both electronic and newspaper to make space available for the sensitization process on Ebola virus infection.

Also on the Ebola Scare, Seychelles has pulled out of 2015 the African Nations Cup and cancelled Saturday’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone because of fears over the Ebola virus.

Sierra Leoneans were prevented earlier on Thursday from boarding a plane at Kenya’s Nairobi Airport that would have taken them to Seychelles for the second-leg tie.

Seychelles Football Association president Elvis Chetty said the decision is for Seychelles FA to forfeit the match.

Sierra Leone, who had led the tie 2-0 after last week’s first leg, are now set to be awarded a place in the next stage of the qualifiers.


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