Downplaying Ebola fears, S. Sudan bans handshakes, hugs

Rumors had been rife in Juba that a West African passenger from Liberia visiting the country had been quarantined after testing positive for Ebola at Juba International Airport.

Downplaying Ebola fears, S. Sudan bans handshakes, hugs

World Bulletin/News Desk

South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei on Friday dismissed rumors that the country had registered its first Ebola case while announcing a government resolution to ban handshaking and hugging as a precautionary measure against the possible spread of the deadly virus.

"The Ministry of Health has confirmed zero Ebola cases in the country," Makuei said at a press briefing following a weekly cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir.

Rumors had been rife in Juba that a West African passenger from Liberia visiting the country had been quarantined after testing positive for Ebola at Juba International Airport.

Health officials, meanwhile, had remained tight-lipped over the rumors.

Makuei said that the cabinet has passed a resolution banning handshakes and hugging countrywide.

"The council of ministers issued a resolution banning handshake and hugging among the general public," he asserted.

A second resolution passed by the government advised all the government ministers, senior officials, security officers and foreign diplomatic missions to strictly adhere to health procedures at the country's entry points – whether at Juba International Airport or at land borders.

"We heard many complaints from the medical personnel deployed at entry points that senior government officials, ministers, army generals and other dignitaries were refusing to undergo medical screening, which is unacceptable," said Makuei.

The minister went on to note that security personnel had been instructed to support health workers deployed at the airport or at entry points to ensure the integrity of the screening process.

"All these resolutions have been taken by the leadership as health precautionary measures, because handshakes and hugging reinforce the spread of Ebola," he said.

In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed more than 4,484 people in West Africa, including 2,458 in Liberia alone, according to the World Health Organization.

A tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola can be transmitted to humans from wild animals. It can also spread through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have succumbed to the virus.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ekim 2014, 00:01

Muhammed Öylek

YORUM EKLE