WHO has classified Kenya as high risk country for Ebola virus outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Kenya as a “high-risk” country for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Kenya was vulnerable because it was a major transport hub, with many flights from West Africa, a WHO official said. This is the most serious warning to date by the WHO that Ebola could spread to East Africa.

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The number of people killed by Ebola in West Africa has risen to 1,069, the WHO said in its latest update. Fifty-six deaths and 128 new cases were reported in the region in the two days to 11 August, it added. Canada said it would donate up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help fight the outbreak.

Airport health checks

In Sierra Leone, a doctor who treated patients infected with Ebola has died, reports the BBC’s Umaru Fofana from the capital, Freetown.

Dr Modupeh Cole is the second Sierra Leonean doctor to die of the disease.

In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous state, a third Ebola-related death was reported on Tuesday.

In other developments:

  • Germany has ordered all its citizens, except health workers, to leave Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three states where the outbreak has been the deadliest.
  • Guinea-Bissau has decided to shut its border with Guinea, Reuters news agency reports.
  • Ghana has delayed the opening of universities and colleges by at least two weeks to put in place measures to screen students arriving from Ebola-hit countries.
  • The African Union has pledged $1m (£600,000) to help fight the disease.

The WHO’s country director for Kenya, Custodia Mandlhate, said the East African state was “classified in group two; at high risk of transmission”.

Health checks at the main airport in the capital, Nairobi, have been stepped up in recent weeks.

‘Global resource’

The Kenyan government said it would not ban flights from the four countries hit by Ebola.

“We do not recommend ban of flights because of porous borders,” health cabinet secretary James Macharia said.

Kenya receives more than 70 flights a week from West Africa.

read more on this story from BBC

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