Filipinos in west Africa warned vs Ebola

Paterno Esmaquel II
The Philippines raises crisis alert level 2 over Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone because of a deadly virus outbreak

EBOLA VIRUS. This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) obtained March 24, 2014 from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia reveals some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. Photo by Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines warned its nationals in west Africa on Wednesday, July 2, to avoid public places as it raised the crisis alert level in 3 countries because of the largest recorded Ebola virus outbreak.

In a statement, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) hoisted crisis alert level 2, which means the restriction phase, over Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

“Under alert level 2, Filipinos in these countries are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and take extra precautions,” the DFA said.

The Philippines will allow only overseas Filipino workers with existing employment contracts to go to these 3 countries, the DFA added.

“The DFA continues to monitor the incidences of the Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa,” it said.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas estimates that more than 1,200 Filipinos live in the 3 affected countries, with the following breakdown: 

  • Guinea – 236

  • Liberia – 462

  • Sierra Leone – 514

‘Drastic action’ vs Ebola set

The DFA issued this warning as dozens of new Ebola cases continue to emerge in western Africa.

On Wednesday, health ministers from across western Africa meet to plan “drastic action” against Ebola.

There have been 759 confirmed or suspected cases of the hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, July 1, with 467 people dead.

The WHO has described the current Ebola epidemic as one of the most challenging since the virus was first identified in 1976 in what is now DR Congo.

That outbreak, the deadliest until this year, killed 280 people, according to WHO figures.

Ebola can fell its victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea – in some cases shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.

No medicine or vaccine exists for Ebola, which is named after a small river in the DR Congo. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.