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President Jonathan Calls Meeting, As WHO Declares Emergency On Ebola

As fear for the dreaded Ebola disease grips Nigerians, President, Goodluck Jonathan Friday summoned an emergency meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to brainstorm how to contain the spread of the virus.

President Jonathan, it was gathered, has had to cancel a scheduled trip to Owerri, Imo State, in order to personally chair the meeting.

One of those summoned to the meeting is the minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who has continuously offered briefing on latest developments with the Ebola virus in Nigeria, as well as measures put in place by the government to control its spread.

So far, two persons have died in Nigeria from the Ebola virus; the first is the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyerr, who brought in the disease and one of the nurses who attended to him in Lagos before he died.

Chukwu is expected to brief the press after the meeting.

In the meantime, two new cases of the virus infection have been reported in Lagos, adding to the previous seven to bring the total number of infected persons to nine.

The Health minister who announced this earlier today, said the two new victims had direct contact with the late Sawyerr.

With nearly 1,000 fatalities in West Africa, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has declared an international publc health emergency for the Ebola virus, demanding “extraordinary” response.

WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, told a conference in Geneva that the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus is the largest, most severe and most complex widespread in nearly four-decade history of the disease.

“I am declaring the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease a public health emergency of international concern. Countries affected to date simply don’t have the capacity to manage the outbreak on this scale on their own,” Chan said.

In recent years, the WHO has declared an emergency only twice and this will be the third; the first two being for swine flu in 2009 and polio in May this year.

The World Bank already announced earlier this week that it was allocating $200 million in emergency assistance to affected countries to contain the Ebola outbreak.