BRISBANE, Australia: The world’s most powerful economies vowed on Saturday to “extinguish” the Ebola epidemic ravaging west Africa, as the vast desert nation of Mali scrambled to prevent a new outbreak of the killer disease.
Despite some hopeful signs from Africa — where Liberia has lifted its state of emergency and the DR Congo announced the end of its own, unrelated, outbreak of Ebola — the recent deaths of three people in Mali have fuelled fears of a new hotspot.
As pop stars recorded a new “Band Aid” single in London to help combat a disease that has killed more than 5,100 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, global leaders meeting in Brisbane made no new pledges of cash.
“G20 members are committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs,” the leaders said in a statement, as they welcomed the International Monetary Fund’s initiative to release $300 million (240 million euros) to combat Ebola.
They also promised to share best practices on protecting health workers on the frontline, as a Sierra Leone doctor with US residency was flown to be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Described as “critically ill”, Martin Salia will be the third Ebola patient treated at the facility. Both others survived.
“We immediately started preparing the unit and notifying staff members of this possibility,” said Phil Smith, medical director of the bio-containment unit.
“We’ve obviously been through this a couple of times before, so we know what to expect.”