Guinea-Bissau Shuts Border with Ebola-Hit Guinea

Guinea-Bissau is closing its border with Guinea, one of the west African countries hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus, Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira said Tuesday.

"In light of information provided by the health ministry and after a series of consultations, the government of Guinea-Bissau has decided to close its southern and eastern borders" with Guinea "until further notice," Pereira told a press conference.

He said that the defense and interior ministries had been charged with "taking the necessary measures" to seal the border, which covers a 300 kilometer (186 mile) stretch between the two countries.

While no cases of Ebola have been recorded in Guinea-Bissau during the latest outbreak, Guinea has been one of the most severely hit countries, with 373 deaths from the tropical disease.

Bissau also unveiled a series of drastic measures to prevent the virus from taking hold in the country, such as banning group gatherings at weddings, funerals and baptisms.

The country has also launched an emergency helpline, opened field hospitals, and set in place a procedure that would see any suspected cases evacuated to certain health centers.

Ebola -- which is caught by close contact with an infected person through bodily fluids such as sweat, blood and tissue -- has swept through the region since the start of the year, killing more than 1,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Source: Agence France Presse

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