COVID-19 has been ravaging the whole world, and no place has been spared. As the world continues to suffer, the continent of Africa is set to experience a second wave of tragedy as VOA reports that the deadly illness of Ebola has returned to Congo and parts of central Africa.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing a growing Ebola outbreak in its northwest Equateur province in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
At his COVID-19 news briefing in Geneva on Thursday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the outbreak is a “worrying” development, with 86 cases confirmed in the province.
He said the DRC government faces significant logistical challenges in trying to rapidly investigate and respond to the outbreak because the cases are spread over a vast area, sometimes separated by more than 250 kilometers, and many areas are accessible only by helicopter or boat.
Tedros said the WHO has about 100 staff in the DRC and is working with the Ministry of Health, nongovernmental agencies, and people in communities to address the outbreak. He said his agency has also released $2.5 million in emergency response funds to support the immediate response.
But he said more funding is needed to bring the outbreak under control and urged the international community to contribute.
He said the WHO, working with the DRC government as well as local and international partners collectively defeated a similar outbreak in the eastern part of the country, what he called “one of the most difficult Ebola outbreaks the world has ever faced.”
Tedros said he knows from experience that this is not just a matter for one country’s health security. “It is a matter of global health security. Whether it’s COVID-19, Ebola or other high impact epidemics, we must be prepared, we need to be on high alert and we need to respond quickly.” (source)
While there is no threat right now to the Western world, it would be interesting if a “second” pandemic or other disease outbreak happened on top of COVID-19.
There have been some scientists speculating about this, saying that a possibility exists for similar illnesses out of China to spread at the same time, although there is no clear data about probabilities available right now.
What one can say is that Congo has seen many wars and a lot of trouble, and the current pandemic only exacerbates her already difficult situation, and adding a second one to that could further destabilize the country as well as potentially bring about another migrant wave of people seeking better economic conditions, even potentially by seeking Europe as a final destination.
It is also of note that Congo is a major producer of raw materials which are refined into important substances used in major computing, robotics, and other highly advanced applications.
As such, it will be interesting to see the world response to Congo and the other Ebola-affected areas of Africa, as it just like with the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be or become a crisis that would be exploitable for major economic or political gain that could take place under the name of “humanitarian assistance” without regard as to what fundamentally happens with the people.