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Combating “contagion of fear” in response to Ebola, urged by UN chief

22 Dec 2014

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) stands with Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone, seen here showing their hospital discharge certificates. Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret

It is crucial to combat what has been described as “the contagion of fear” in response to the deadly Ebola virus disease in West Africa.

That’s what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday following his visit to the region where Ebola has killed around 6,900 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Ban was joined on the trip by Dr. Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. David Nabarro, his Special Envoy, and Anthony Banburry, the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

The Secretary-General told reporters that he went to West Africa to show solidarity and thank the courageous health workers who have inspired the world in the fight against Ebola.

“Ebola caregivers should be praised not shunned. People who have travelled to Ebola-affected countries and have no signs of infection, are no threat. I also repeat my call to avoid travel restrictions, border closures and other counter-productive obstacles. As we fight the Ebola virus, it is equally crucial to combat the contagion of fear.” (27″)

Ban Ki-moon added that in his talks with the presidents of Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone, he thanked them for their leadership and stressed the need for continued vigilance.

Mr Ban reiterated that the immediate goal today is zero cases, warning that even one case can trigger an epidemic.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″