The coronavirus has reached the northeastern area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) hit by more than a year and a half since an Ebola outbreak, health authorities in the Central African country reported.
The technical secretary of the DRC’s Multisectoral National Response Committee against COVID-19, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, reported a first confirmed case of the disease in Ituri, one of the two provinces affected by Ebola, along with the neighboring North Kivu.
This is a Congolese-based miner residing in the town of Mbandi, located in Ituri, and not in North Kivu as the Committee had indicated in a previous statement.
To date, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which last Tuesday declared a state of emergency and closed national borders to contain the coronavirus, has reported 54 confirmed infections and four deaths due to the disease.
The COVID-19 reached Ituri while the authorities cautiously trust in being able to proclaim the end of the Ebola epidemic, declared on August 1, 2018, at the end of the first fortnight of April.
Last day 3, the last patient infected with Ebola and hospitalized in the northeast of the DRC was discharged from a medical center in the city of Beni, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.
The WHO recommends waiting two full incubation periods (42 days) after the last patient tests negative a second time before declaring the end of the outbreak.
According to the latest official figures, the contagion cases amount to 3,444 people (3,310 confirmed cases and 134 probable ones) and the number of deaths is estimated at 2,264, of which 2,130 tested positive in laboratory tests.
The current Ebola outbreak has been hampered by the refusal of some communities to receive treatment and insecurity in the area, in which armed groups and rebel militias operate and have attacked treatment centers.
This epidemic is the second worst since the disease is known, second only to the outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, which caused more than 11,300 deaths.
The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with contaminated blood and body fluids, causes hemorrhagic fever, and can reach a 90% death rate if not treated early.