Pretoria – The Department of Health has allayed fears of the Ebola outbreak moving to South Africa, assuring that the country is safe.
Department spokesperson Joe Maila confirmed that no case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been reported in the country since the outbreak was first reported in West Africa, on 23 March 2014.
“We have very stringent rules and regulations at our ports of entry and therefore nobody will come into the country with Ebola because our screening process will be able to detect anybody and that person will be quarantined immediately. At this point of time there’s no need to panic. As South Africa, we are free from the virus,” said Maila.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the outbreak began in Guinea’s Guéckédou Prefecture during December 2013, with subsequent spread to other prefectures in Guinea, including the capital Conakry, as well as neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The outbreak has not been brought under control and new cases and deaths continue to be reported in all three affected countries.
“In total, 1 201 cases, including 672 deaths, have been reported during this outbreak. In Guinea, as of 23 July 2014, a cumulative total of 427 cases of EVD, including 319 deaths was reported from seven districts and the capital Conakry.
“As of 23 July 2014, Sierra Leone has reported 525 cases, including 224 deaths. The fatal cases were all from Kailahun District, located in the eastern region of Sierra Leone bordering on Guinea (Guéckédou) and Liberia,” NICD reported.
As of 23 July 2014, Liberia reported a total of 249 cases including 129 deaths.