In Brief

Ebola: outbreak in West Africa still out of control, warns WHO

Death toll from Ebola continues to rise as the organisation admits it 'failed to see the writing on the wall'

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not yet under control and is still "running ahead" of efforts to control it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Although the situation has improved in some parts of the region, other places continue to see large numbers of infections, director-general Margaret Chan told The BBC.

"It's not as bad as it was in September. But going forward we are now hunting the virus, chasing after the virus. Hopefully we can bring [the number of cases] down to zero," she said.

The WHO has faced worldwide criticism for its slow response to the outbreak. Earlier this year, a leaked internal document revealed that the organisation "failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall".

Chan admits mistakes were made. "Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, if you ask me now... we could have mounted a much more robust response".

There have been 17,800 reported cases of the disease, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and at least 6,331 people are known to have died. However, the number of people infected with the disease is still thought to be vastly underestimated due to the fear surrounding it.

"When they [the local communities] see people in space suits coming into their villages to take away their loved ones, they are very fearful. They hide their sick relatives at home, they hide dead bodies," said Chan.

Meanwhile, William Pooley, the British nurse who recovered from Ebola and is back at work at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone, has criticised the lyrics of the Band Aid single released to raise money to fight the disease. He described it as "cringeworthy" and "culturally ignorant".

"It's Africa, not another planet," Pooley told the Radio Times magazine. "Stuff about Do They Know It's Christmas? It's just like, actually people live normal lives here and do normal things."

He went on to describe the local healthcare workers in Sierra Leone as "heroes" for continuing to put their lives at risk by treating patients, especially as many of them have not been paid for months.

Recommended

Barnsley displayed on Kim Kardashian’s behind
Kim Kardashian
Tall Tales

Barnsley displayed on Kim Kardashian’s behind

‘You’ll have to dip your hands in blood to get rid of me’
Today’s newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘You’ll have to dip your hands in blood to get rid of me’

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?
Ambulance workers at hospital
Why we’re talking about . . .

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?

Is the US Supreme Court fit for purpose?
US Supreme Court
Podcasts

Is the US Supreme Court fit for purpose?

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2022

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

The Week Footer Banner