Ebola outbreak-UN criticizes flight restrictions

Added On August 26, 2014

The United Nations has lashed out on flights restrictions to and from Ebola-hit countries, saying the measure could hamper the movement of international experts.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing on Monday that the current limitations on flights into and out of the Ebola-hit West African countries are not warranted.
SOUNDBITE (English) STEPHANE DUJARRIC, Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General:
"It is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease. The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people."
Dujarric further explained that Ebola does not spread through air borne contact. It only spreads through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with the virus.
Dujarric warned that the current trend of limitations on flights is having adverse effects on efforts to control the disease. 
SOUNDBITE (English) STEPHANE DUJARRIC, Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General:
"Current flight limitations are hampering the movement of international experts involved in the control efforts. These flight restrictions hinder the capacities of aid organizations like Médecins sans Frontières to deploy their personnel in support of the crisis response and mitigation. The ability of programs involved in controlling the outbreak to transport essential equipment and materials to the region is also being severely hampered. These flight limitations contribute to the economic and diplomatic isolation of the affected countries and further compound the stigmatization already experienced by their citizens."
But despite the UN's warning, several countries including Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa and Rwanda have defied the call and maintained travel bans to the affected countries.
According to the World Health Organization, this round of Ebola outbreak has so far killed more than 1,400 in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.