Rwanda has closed its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a deadly Ebola outbreak that started a year ago has killed more than 1,803 people.
Congo’s presidency said that Rwandan authorities had closed the border between Goma and its nearest town of Gisenyi for all people other than Congolese citizens leaving Rwanda. Goma had its second case of Ebola fever confirmed this week.
The closure came after a second death linked to the Ebola virus was confirmed on Wednesday in the densely populated Congolese city of Goma, which is on the porous border with Rwanda.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), which declared the DRC outbreak a global health emergency in July, has recommended against travel or trade restrictions noting that the risk of regional spread is very high.
Earlier today, a DRC official said the one-year-old daughter of the man who died on Wednesday was at a treatment centre after showing signs of the disease. He had spent several days at home with his family while showing symptoms.
If this suspected case is confirmed, it could be the first transmission of Ebola in this outbreak inside Goma, a city of more than two million people.
Goma is a major transport hub that shares the border with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, which has a population of more than 85,000.
Last week the DRC’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, resigned in protest of the country’s handling of the Ebola outbreak.
He said international agencies were pressuring his government to allow the testing of a new vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.
The row over the vaccine trials began after Ilunga reportedly banned clinical trials of the new vaccine in DRC.