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Congo medical workers conclude vaccination of Ebola patients.

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Medical workers in Democratic Republic of Congo have given all the immediate contacts of Ebola patients in the city of Mbandaka an experimental vaccine as they try to thwart a disease that has killed around 25 people, the health ministry said.



Ebola spreads easily through bodily fluids and the medical strategy involves vaccinating all the people a patient may have infected and then vaccinating a second “ring” of contacts around each of those potential sufferers.

That would include family members but also people who may have come into contact with a sufferer in church or on public transport, each a potential Ebola time-bomb who must be found and vaccinated by virus-hunting experts.

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The race against new Ebola cases

The VSVEBOV vaccine, developed by Merck, has been administered to 1,112 people, including 567 in the northwestern city. That covers all known contacts of confirmed Ebola cases in the city as well as those people’s contacts, the ministry said in a statement late on Sunday.

The vaccine was first rolled out in Mbandaka on May 21 and hailed as a paradigm shift in the fight against Ebola by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO to deploy 4,000 vaccines in DR Congo Ebola response

There have been no new deaths from Ebola since May 25 and the last confirmed case was recorded on May 29, although health officials say it is too soon to make any definitive pronouncements about the outbreak’s course.

The latest data from the health ministry shows 53 cases of Ebola in the outbreak, including 37 confirmed, 13 probable and three suspected cases.

One new suspected case was recorded on Monday in the rural community of Iboko and five suspected cases came back negative, the health ministry said.

‘Cautiously optimistic’

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola in Congo since the disease was first detected in the country in 1976. Health officials have moved aggressively to head off a repeat of the 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed over 11,300 people.

The WHO said last week that it was cautiously optimistic about the progress of the response yet Mbandaka’s location directly upstream the Congo River of the capital Kinshasa, a city of more than 10 million people, remains a concern.

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UN reports about 900 fatalities in DR Congo’s ethnic violence.

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The united nations report that at least 890 people were killed in over just 3 days in ethnic violence in western DRC in mid-december.

The UN Human Rights Office reports the violence took place in four villages between Banunu and Batende communities.



The UN however warns the death toll could be higher. But there seems to be conflicting death tolls for the violence.

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A local priest and a civil society activist earlier in the week said at least 400 people had died in bloodshed that even led to the government canceling voting in last month’s presidential polls.

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The UN insists that 890 is the number of people known to have been buried.

The recent attack from the ethnic clashes in Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe Province allegedly started when members of the Banunu tribe wanted to bury one of their traditional chiefs on Batende land.

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Britain, UN worry over Internet shutdown in Zimbabwe.

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In the wake of deadly protests against a fuel price hike, and an ongoing internet shutdown in Zimbabwe, the United Nations has urged the government to stop “excessive use of force” by security forces including firing live ammunition.

The government has said three people died during demonstrations that broke out on Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa raised fuel prices by 150 percent.

Lawyers and activists say the toll was much higher and that security forces used violence and carried out mass arrests to quell the unrest.



The internet was cut off earlier this week, with critics saying the government sought to prevent images of its heavy-handedness in dealing with protesters from being broadcast around the world.

Leading mobile operator Econet Wireless said the government had ordered it to shut down services.

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“We were served with another directive for total shutdown of the internet until further notice,” Econet said in a statement.

“Our lawyers advised that we are required to comply with the directive pending the court’s decision on its legality.”

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Friday’s fuller internet shutdown also affected emails.

Due to the shutdown, Harare banks were providing only partial services and no cash machines were working, a witness said, while long queues formed at petrol stations and shops.

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