And lots of news from Africa, much of it not so good.
We begin with dashed hopes from France 24:
Mali confirms new case of Ebola, locks down Bamako clinic
The government of Mali confirmed the country’s second case of Ebola late on Tuesday and police deployed outside a clinic in the capital, Bamako, that authorities said had been quarantined.
In a statement via Twitter, Mali’s Information Minister Mahamadou Camara said “prevention measures” were being taken, but gave no details on the case. Local officials and diplomats said the new case was unrelated to the first one last month.
Mali became the sixth West African country to record a case of Ebola when a two-year-old girl from Guinea died in October. It has not recorded any confirmed cases since then and 108 people linked to the girl were due to complete their 21-day quarantine period on Tuesday.
Mali shares an 800 km (500 mile) border with Guinea, which alongside Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been worst affected by an Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000 people this year.
Earlier the New York Times had offered a more optimistic video report:
Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014: Limiting Its Spread in Mali
Mali’s Ebola scare is not yet over. But with a quick diagnosis, extensive communication, and no shortage of luck, authorities and partners may be able to limit the number of cases to one.
Produced by: Nicholas Loomis
Another grim assessment from the U.N. News Center:
West Africa ‘on brink’ of major food crisis in wake of Ebola outbreak – UN expert
As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, leaving more than 4,000 people dead, the region is now on the brink of a major food crisis, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food has warned today.
“While the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis struggle to contain the devastating virus, they now face a new challenge with experts predicting that over a million people in the region need food aid to allay shortages,” Ms. Hilal Elver said in a statement.
Agriculture, the main economic activity in West Africa with two thirds of the population dependent on farming, has taken a severe toll since the Ebola outbreak hit earlier this year.
The closure of border and sea crossings, a reduction in regional trade, along with a decline in foreign investment has left regional countries in a precarious food situation and farmers in disarray.
“Farmers in West Africa have been severely affected by this crisis, with fear and panic resulting in many having abandoned their farms, this in turn has led to a disruption in food production and a soaring rise in food prices,” Ms. Elver noted.
Staple crops such as rice and maize will reportedly be scaled back due to shortages in farm labour with potential “catastrophic” effect on food security, she added.
Meanwhile, good news in the U.S. from USA Today:
Doctor leaves NYC hospital Ebola-free
Craig Spencer, the last Ebola patient in the U.S., left New York’s Bellevue Hospital Ebola-free Tuesday. Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola three weeks ago after returning from West Africa, where he was treating patients with the disease.
From The Hill, a cautionary note:
White House: NY Ebola case won’t be last
The doctor discharged Tuesday from a New York City hospital after recovering from Ebola won’t be the last U.S. case of the deadly virus, the White House warned Tuesday.
“Today is a milestone, but let’s be clear … we’re going to see occasional additional cases of Ebola in our country,” White House Ebola czar Ron Klain told MSNBC. “This is not the last one.”
Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old physician who contracted the virus while treating patients in West Africa, was released from Bellevue Hospital on Tuesday after weeks of isolation and treatment. Spencer was the last known case of Ebola in the United States.
Klain hailed Spencer’s discharge as “a milestone in showing our strategy of identifying, isolating, and treating Ebola patients can be successful,” and he noted that all eight U.S. citizens who had contracted the disease survived. A Liberian man who traveled to Dallas and infected two nurses treating him died from the disease.
The Associated Press covers a walkout:
California nurses strike over patient care, Ebola
As many as 18,000 nurses went on strike Tuesday and picketed in front of Kaiser Permanente facilities in Northern California to express their concerns about patient-care standards and Ebola.
The nurses, who are in the midst of contract negotiations, held red and yellow “strike for health and safety” picket signs. The two-day strike was expected to affect at least 21 Kaiser hospitals and 35 clinics and last until 7 a.m. Thursday.
Union officials said nurses are striking over claims there has been an erosion of patient-care standards in Kaiser facilities for months and that the company has failed to adopt optimal safeguards for Ebola.
“The nurses are telling story upon story of the lack of safety for patients, the lack of concern for patients,” RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, the union representing the striking nurses, said. “This isn’t about money. This is about something far deeper.”
And TheLocal.dk has the latest European Ebola scare:
Dane admitted to hospital for Ebola testing
A patient who has recently been in west Africa was being tested for Ebola on Tuesday evening, with test results first expected during the course of the day on Wednesday.
A Dane who recently returned from west Africa was admitted to Hvidore Hospital on Tuesday afternoon on the suspicion of carrying the Ebola virus, the hospital has announced.
“We determined that there were grounds to admit the patient and we have sent a test to the State Serum Institute,” hospital spokesman Toben Mogensen said in a statement.
The patient was put in isolation late on Tuesday and will remain there until the test results return. An initial result was expected to arrive overnight on Tuesday and a secondary sample will be sent for testing on Wednesday morning.
While Jiji Press covers preparations in Japan:
Tokyo Govt Conducts Ebola Response Drill
The Tokyo metropolitan government carried out a drill on Tuesday to deal with a suspected Ebola case.
The drill was carried out under the assumption that a doctor who returned to Japan a week before after working in West Africa, where there is an Ebola epidemic, contacted a public health center, complaining of a fever.
Placed in a capsule-type stretcher, which prevents the Ebola virus from spreading, a man in the doctor’s role was put into an ambulance and taken to a designated hospital in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward.
And RT covers another sort of scare:
Ebola-labeled vial prompts NZ parliament lockdown
What was called a sample of the Ebola virus in an attatched letter has been sent to the New Zealand Parliament’s mailroom, prompting a lockdown of the room. Just hours before, the Auckland office of the New Zealand Herald received a similar package.
Mailroom staff at the Parliament building in Wellington called the police after discovering the unaddressed package. It contained a small liquid-filled vial and documents claiming that the vial contains a sample of the deadly Ebola virus.
“Wellington Police have secured a package delivered to the Parliament mailroom today with the assistance of the Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team,” New Zealand police said.
More from The Hill:
Ebola packages likely a hoax, says US czar
The U.S. is monitoring reports that New Zealand’s parliament and top newspaper received packages purportedly containing vials of the Ebola virus, but believes the incident was most likely a hoax, the White House said Tuesday.
Ebola czar Ron Klain told CNN he was briefed on the incident earlier in the day, but based on the best available intelligence information, “odds are high that this turns out to be a hoax.”
The New Zealand Herald reported that its Aukland headquarters received a small bottle of liquid with an accompanying message suggesting it contained Ebola. Hours later, the mailroom at the parliament building in Wellington was also closed after reception of a similarly suspicious package. Both packages have been forwarded for forensic testing.
On to Africa, starting with an urgent assessment from the UN News Center:
Stopping Ebola as fast as possible is ‘number one priority’ – UN envoy
The number one priority is to stop Ebola as fast as possible and “get ahead of the virus,” the chief of the United Nations emergency response mission said as the UN health agency today reported that efforts to contain the outbreak in West Africa are being hampered by cumbersome diagnostic tests.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that standard tests used in mobile and other laboratories need 2 to 6 hours to test for Ebola and cost around $100, but these requirements are difficult to meet in resource-constrained West African settings, thus severely limiting testing capacity.
“Efforts to contain the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa are currently hampered by cumbersome, slow, and complex diagnostic tests that imposed a number of additional logistical challenges, including requirements for a high level of laboratory biosafety and staff expertise in using sophisticated machines,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva.
Anthony Banbury, the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in New York to brief Member States this week, told the UN News Centre that he is “deeply concerned that the true numbers of people affected by the virus, dying of it, are higher than the numbers being reported.”
From Associated Press, the cost of Ebolaphobia:
Morocco thrown out of African Cup, dumped as host
Morocco was thrown out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations and dumped as the host Tuesday after refusing to commit to the scheduled dates early next year because of fears over Ebola.
The decisions by CAF were taken at a meeting that was forced by Morocco’s refusal to hold the tournament on the planned dates of Jan. 17-Feb. 8 because of the threat of the spread of Ebola. The disease has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa, and Morocco wanted the 16-team soccer event postponed until 2016 because of fears the deadly virus would arrive with supporters and other travelers.
CAF repeatedly refused Morocco’s request to postpone the African Cup, the body’s main money-earning tournament, and gave the country until Saturday to commit to the planned dates. Morocco declined again.
“The Royal Moroccan Football Federation reiterated its refusal to hold the competition on the dates indicated,” CAF said Tuesday. “Therefore having firmly and unanimously notified … its decision to keep the competition on the dates indicated, the executive committee confirmed that the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 will not take place in Morocco.”
From VOA video, old message, new medium:
Ebola Training Available Online
Since an Ebola outbreak began its deadly course through West Africa earlier this year, health officials worldwide have sought to inform the general public about the virus that has killed some 5,000 people. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday launched an online training program for its staff and others interested in fighting Ebola. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Voice of America covers complexity:
Ebola is More Than Medical Challenge, Experts Say
South Africa knows all too well how it feels to watch a disease rampage through once-healthy communities, to watch the illness divide society and trigger shame, fear and panic, and to be shunned by the rest of the world.
And so as three West African nations battle with the often-deadly Ebola virus, South African experts say the hard lessons they learned in their nation’s HIV epidemic are as important as ever.
Fighting Ebola, they say, will require many of the same tools needed to fight AIDS, an epidemic that fundamentally transformed the way the world looks at diseases — not just through the microscope of science, but through the wider lens of society and development.
From the Sun in Lagos, Nigeria, stunning allegations about the patient who triggered the first U.S. Ebolas outbreak:
How Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, deliberately infected our staff with Ebola — First Consultant Hospital
Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought Ebola into the country, was a bio-terrorist, bent on a mission to deliberately infect as many Nigerians as possible with the deadly virus, the Chief Medical Director of First Consultant Hospital, Benjamin Ohiaeri, has said.
In a detailed interview with ThisDay newspaper, Mr. Ohiaeri spoke of how Mr. Sawyer lied to his hospital that he had no contact with any Ebola case and how he plotted to be allowed to storm the streets of Nigeria to spread the virus.
He also revealed shocking details of how Mr Sawyer deliberately and systematically infected hospital personnel with the virus.
He said the Liberian- American was not interested in receiving treatment or discussing the option available to him. Rather he demonstrated a deliberate intent to be discharged from the hospital into the public where he would have posed dire public health risk.
After the jump, one to Sierra Leone and good news for the most exposed, hospitals blasted by patient families, another doctor stricken, help from the nuclear realm, and one bright spot, then on to Liberia and another tragedy in another county, a suspected carrier captured, more help from within Africa, a plea for help from Liberian news media, care for kids in quarantine, and help from cells phones, then on to Ghana and a question of awareness. . . Continue reading