FREETOWN: China is continuing its efforts to help western African countries combat the latest round of Ebola epidemic outbreak, having sent three teams of experts and medical supplies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in spite of a high risk of infection.
The deadly Ebola virus, which has claimed over 1,000 lives in west African countries, is highly-contagious and has no known cure or vaccines. Before the arrival of the Chinese experts, eight members of the Chinese medical team sent to Sierra Leone’s hospitals annually to assist the treatment of local patients, were put in quarantine after treating Ebola patients. Fortunately, seven Chinese medical workers working in Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, quarantined after treating Ebola patients, have shown no Ebola symptoms and their conditions were stable, an official with China’s embassy told Xinhua Tuesday.
The quarantine of another member of the Chinese medical team in Sierra Leone has been declared ended after he was checked and ruled out from infection with the virus, the leader of Chinese medical team Wang Yaoping told Xinhua Tuesday. The newly-arrived Chinese experts, which are composed of epidemiologists and specialists in disinfection and protection, are expected to share their expertise in controlling and preventing the disease, and train local medical workers on personal protection, disinfection and biological safety.
China’s rich experiences in controlling and preventing public health emergencies, such as its campaigns against the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the H7N9 bird flu virus in recent years, are widely recognized to be helpful for Africa’s fight against Ebola. A World Health Organization (WHO) official on Wednesday applauded China’s emergency assistance to Sierra Leone, where more than 300 people have died of the dreaded Ebola virus. Jacob Mufunda, who has worked in Sierra Leone, made the comment while meeting with Chinese medical workers who are currently working with the country’s medical staff to tame the deadly Ebola virus. Mufunda said China’s assistance will help ease the shortage of medical equipment in the country, adding that China’s emergency aid is “timely and efficient.” The official noted the country is in dire need of medical staff and supplies to curb the spread of the disease. Besides, a chartered plane carrying supplies from Shanghai in eastern China arrived in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia successively on Monday.
The supplies, worth 30 million yuan (4.9 million U.S. dollars), include medical protective clothes, disinfectants, thermo-detectors and medicines. “This assistance is of great significance and is an embodiment of the traditional friendship between China and Guinea,” said Sun Hui, who is leading the Chinese medical team in Guinea. “I hope that with China’s help, Guinea can defeat the Ebola epidemic at an early date,” he added.
Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Zhang Yue, when presenting Tuesday a consignment of medical supplies to Liberia following their arrival, said the items were donated by Chinese people to bring relief to Liberia during a critical period. Yue said China will continue to stand by Liberia as it strives to prevent and combat the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the country.
Earlier, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf lauded China’s friendly assistance to the people of Liberia at a critical time when her country is faced with challenges posed by the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed the lives of many of her compatriots since March. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone Ebun Strasser-King said Monday the Chinese government demonstrated that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”
She noted that the Ebola “took us by surprise and met us when we were ill prepared for it.” “The government and people welcome this gesture by the Chinese” and that “our friendship has been based on friendship and brotherhood.” Four western African countries — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — have been hit by the Ebola epidemic. A total of 1,013 people have died and 1,848 people have been infected since March, according to the World Health Organization’s latest tally on Aug. 11.
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