Rwanda warns citizens against unnecessary travel to DRC’s Goma following Ebola outbreak

NAIROBI, Kenya – Authorities in Rwanda have urged the citizens and residents of the country to desist from traveling to the DR Congo for now until the public health situation in that country improves.

On Monday, Rwandan health ministry warned Rwandans against unnecessary travel to Goma, an eastern city of Rwanda’s neighboring country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following confirmation of an Ebola case there.

The Goma area shares border with western Rwanda’s Rubavu district where there are unending daily border crossings between the two countries.

Officials say an estimated 100,000 people are engaged in bordering crossing activities between the two countries on a monthly basis.

“This Ebola epidemic is yet to stop and now it has reached close to Rwanda. There is a need to be more vigilant and to avoid unnecessary visits to Goma,” Rwandan health minister Diane Gashumba told a news briefing when touring Rwanda.

On Monday, the minister visited the border district to assess the effectiveness of measures put in place by the government to avoid possible spread of the disease in the country.  Among those measures include screening of travelers entering Rwanda.

The minister appealed Rwandan residents and visitors to seek timely medical attention at the nearest health facility whenever a person has Ebola-like symptoms such as high fever, bleeding, diarrhea and red eyes among others.

The World Health Organization has expressed concern that the spread of Ebola in the DRC has escalated in the past few months, with more than 2,000 cases recorded since the epidemic broke out again about a year ago.

Health analysts say the current outbreak is the worst on record after the Ebola epidemic that struck Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

Rwandan Health Minister Diane Gashumba
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Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere

Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere is a public affairs researcher and senior investigative correspondent.
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