Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Philippine government has launched an appeal to hundreds of their fellow citizens, urging them to abandon the nations of West Africa, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Manila also added that all workers overseas or those coming from countries where the virus has developed will be subjected to a quarantine of 21 days, the maximum time required for symptoms to manifest. The Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario states the government has started a "voluntary repatriation" program for 900 workers present in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where the epidemic first broke out.
Interviewed by the Philippine ABS-CBN television the Minister said that President Benigno Aquino had also ordered those who did return would have to be isolated in a government facility undergoing a 21-day quarantine. With 10 million Filipinos working abroad, the country is "very vulnerable" amid the outbreak of the killer disease.
The Philippine government follows
a provision has already taken place in recent weeks by the United States, which has ordered the quarantine
of persons considered to be at risk; However, the measure raises serious doubts
and disputes concerning violation of human rights.
This week the Department of Health has launched a program aimed at training 130 doctors, nurses and health care professionals, working in public hospitals in the country to prepare in case of Ebola. Added to these are at least another 300 who work in private hospitals scattered across the archipelago. In recent weeks, at least 126 Filipino workers have returned from three African countries in which the disease developed and were "monitored" carefully. Of these, at least 12 developed a fever during the 21-day quarantine, but tested negative for Ebola.
Yesterday at the Wednesday Audience Pope Francis appealed for "every necessary effort to eradicate" Ebola, which he described as a "relentless disease" The Pope said he was "close to those affected" assured his prayers for "the suffering, as well as doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious institutes and associations, who are working heroically to help our brothers and sisters who are sick" .
Ebola is a virus that causes very aggressive hemorrhagic fevers and has a very high mortality rate; the current strain has an incidence of around 70%, but can reach up to 90%. So far it has killed 4,922 people, but the real figure could be even higher. The first case of infection occurred last February in Guinea, and then spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is spread by contact with blood and body fluids of infected persons. There is no effective treatment and the epidemic of recent months has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it an international emergency.