Patients flee as Ebola holding centre attacked in Congo

Patients flee as Ebola holding centre attacked in Congo

BENI (AFP): Patients being monitored as possible Ebola patients fled a camp in eastern DR Congo on Thursday after it was attacked by demonstrators protesting further delays to the country’s election, the health ministry said.

Around 20 patients fled the centre during the incident, at a holding centre in the Beni region, the epicentre of this latest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially fatal disease.

The incident followed the announcement that elections planned for Sunday in the region had once again been postponed because of local unrest, as well as the Ebola outbreak.

At least three tents were ransacked on the edge of the site, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and a heavy police presence was patrolling the site after the incident, an AFP correspondent noted.

“Of 24 patients, 17 had tested negative (for Ebola) once. They had to be tested a second time before being discharged,” said a health ministry spokeswoman.

On Wednesday, the country’s electoral commission cited the unrest in the region and the Ebola outbreak as the reasons it was further postponing national elections there.

However the vote will continue to take place in the rest of the country as scheduled on December 30, and the next president will be sworn in on January 18, the commission said.

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