The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the DRC remains a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC), according to the worldwide Health Regulations Emergency Committee, convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 12 February.
These were the details of the news World Health Organization to decide on emergency status of Ebola in DR Congo for this day.
The decision is ultimately up to the WHO's Emergency Committee - a group of worldwide experts that meets every three months once an emergency has been declared.
The committee acknowledged the revised risk assessment, which puts the risk now as high at national and regional levels, and low at the global level.
"As long as there is a single case of Ebola in an area as insecure and unstable as eastern DRC, the potential remains for a much larger epidemic", said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva during a media briefing.
"At-risk countries should maintain their work with partners to improve their preparedness for detecting and managing imported or locally acquired cases, including the transparent sharing of detailed information on suspect cases", said the experts, citing World Health Organization norms and guidance. Tedros called these signs extremely positive. "Even as the flames of one outbreak begin to die down, we are fighting another fire-front". Only half of health facilities have access to water.
"The country continues to need support to combat infectious diseases as well as to strengthen its health system".
Chair of the Emergency Committee, Robert Steffen explained why the group made a decision to maintain the PHEIC despite cautious optimism that the Ebola epidemic was winding down.
But he stressed that "until we have no cases for 42 days, it's not over".
Another problem, Steffen said, is lack of money. "Further, there remains an urgent need to maintain worldwide solidarity for the response", the statement said. So far, less than half of the required amount has been received.