COTE d’Ivoire has resumed flights to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa, said the African Union (AU) in a statement on Saturday.
Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara informed Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that the country’s national carrier, Air Ivoire, has resumed flights to Conakry, Guinea, the AU said.
Ouattara said that flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone would begin on October 26. Cote d’Ivoire also said it will soon be sending medical personnel to help in the fight against Ebola.
Air Ivoire suspended flights to neighbouring countries hit by the virus in August, closing its borders with Guinea and Liberia 12 days later. Several African and non-African carriers, including Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, followed suit.
Ivory Coast has had no confirmed cases of the disease despite its proximity to the epicentre of the outbreak.
Last month President Alassane Outtara said flights could be restored after the World Health Organisation appealed for transport links to affected countries to be maintained.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia account for the vast majority of the 4,922 deaths from the Ebola epidemic. Nigeria, which had a handful of cases, and Senegal, which had one, were declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO) over a week ago.
More than 10,000 people have contracted the virus in West Africa, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.
All talk, no walk
Meanwhile the US ambassador to the United Nations criticised the level of international support for nations hit by Ebola as she begins a tour of West African nations at the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.
Samantha Power said before arriving in Guinea on Sunday that too many leaders were praising the efforts of countries like the United States and Britain to accelerate aid to the worst-affected nations, while doing little themselves.
“The international response to Ebola needs to be taken to a wholly different scale than it is right now,” Power told NBC News.
She said many countries “are signing on to resolutions and praising the good work that the United States and the United Kingdom and others are doing, but they themselves haven’t taken the responsibility yet to send docs, to send beds, to send the reasonable amount of money.”
Besides Guinea, Power will travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
In the US, an American nurse who was placed in quarantine after caring for Ebola sufferers in Sierra Leone has complained she was made to feel “like a criminal” upon arrival in New Jersey.
American and world hysteria
Kaci Hickox, who later tested negative, was the first person to be placed under a mandatory 21-day quarantine for medical staff returning to parts of the US who may have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa.
The new rules took effect in the states of New York, New Jersey and Illinois on Friday, the same day Hickox returned.
“This is not a situation I would wish on anyone,” Hickox wrote in The Dallas Morning News.
She said she was being kept outside the main hospital building, with only a hospital bed, a non-flush chemical toilet, and no shower.
“To put me in prison is just inhumane,” she told CNN on Sunday.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to quell the firestorm over Hickox’s outspoken remarks, saying “this hero was treated with disrespect, was treated with a sense that she had done something wrong, when she hadn’t.”
Late Sunday New York state eased its rules for how those arriving from Ebola-stricken west Africa must be treated, under pressure from the White House, where officials believe these rules could deter health workers from going to fight the epidemic.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said there would no longer be a blanket quarantine procedure from all people entering the state from affected countries in west Africa.
President Barack Obama told Americans on Saturday they must be “guided by the facts, not fear” after a 33-year-old US doctor returning from Africa became the first Ebola case in New York City.
Meanwhile, Australian authorities said early on Monday that a teenager who was in isolation in hospital had tested negative for Ebola after she developed a fever following her arrival from Guinea.
The 18-year-old, who arrived in Australia 12 days ago with eight other family members, had been in home quarantine in Brisbane before she developed a raised temperature.