45-day Ebola 'health emergency' declared in five Guinea regions: President

CONAKRY (AFP) - Guinean President Alpha Conde on Saturday declared a 45-day “health emergency” in five regions in the west and south-west of the Ebola-hit nation in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly disease.

The focus of the virus “has shifted to our country’s coastal areas", the President said in a statement published in national media.

“That is why I am declaring a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia,” he said.

Since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013, more than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and over 10,000 of them have died.

All but a handful of those deaths have occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The World Health Organisation declared in January that the epidemic was finally declining in west Africa after the three countries at the epicentre recorded a steady drop in cases.

But renewed concern has been triggered by fresh setbacks in the worst-hit nations.

Liberia on Saturday announced the death of a woman who last week became the country’s first new Ebola patient in more than a month. Health officials also said two new suspected cases had been identified.

And Sierra Leone on Friday began a new three-day nationwide lockdown sparked by fears that the virus was making a comeback in certain parts of the country.