A Catholic diocese in Congo has boosted measures to protect its congregations against Ebola, after the latest outbreak was declared an international emergency by the World Health Organisation.
‘The Goma Diocese is joining the general preoccupation with preventive precautions,’ said a statement issued by Mgr Jacques Letakamba, diocesan chancellor.
‘Washing will now be obligatory for all faithful before Mass, and basins must be prepared for this purpose with chlorinated water. The call to Christ’s peace by the priest during Mass will not be accompanied by the extending of hands,’ the statement said.
The measures were implemented as Rwanda closed its border with Congo on 1st August following confirmation of a second Ebola death in Goma, a city of 2 million people.
More than 1,800 people have died of Ebola in the latest outbreak, Congo’s 10th since 1976, with a dozen new cases reported daily mostly in North Kivu province, according to WHO.
The Associated Press reported that the latest victim, a miner in his 40s, had shown symptoms of the disease after returning to Goma and died on 31st July at an Ebola treatment centre.
Picture: A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a child at the Himbi Health Centre in Goma, Congo, on 17th July 2019. (CNS photo/Olivia Acland, Reuters).