The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), calling on countries to "take notice and redouble...efforts."
"The #Ebola outbreak in #DRC constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, citing concerning the geographical expansion of the virus," WHO tweeted while quoting its Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
More than 2,500 cases of Ebola have been reported in DRC, out of which nearly 1,670 people have died in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, according to WHO records.
A PHEIC is defined as, "an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response".
Ghebreyesus cautioned against imposing any travel or trade restrictions on the African country as it may hamper the fight against the hemorrhagic fever.
"I emphasize that @WHO does not recommend any restrictions on travel or trade, which rather than stopping #Ebola, can actually hamper the fight. We call on all countries, companies and individuals to support #DRC by respecting those recommendations," he tweeted.
According to WHO, since the outbreak's declaration almost a year ago, it has been classified as a level 3 emergency - the most serious - triggering the highest level of mobilization. The UN overall has also recognized the seriousness of the emergency by activating the "Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up" to support the Ebola response.
The first Ebola cases appeared in neighbouring Uganda last month. The infected family had, however, travelled across the border from DRC. (ANI)