Rwanda has denied it shut its border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC – over fears of a potential Ebola outbreak.
In the last year, D.R. Congo continued to witness its second-worst Ebola outbreak in history with more than 1,700 people dead. The outbreak had last week sparked rumours of a border closure between the two nations.
But Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Diane Gashumba, dismissed the reports, stressing that “what you are reading in the media is not true, but people simply misunderstood the situation at the border.”
She explained that people were delayed at the border Thursday morning as they were informed of the risks of Ebola and measures they can take to avoid becoming infected.
Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community in Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, described the border closure reports as “a misunderstanding.”
The presidential office of the DRC announced in a statement on Thursday that Rwanda shut down its border with the DRC following the death of a man with Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, which borders Rwanda to the east.
The man, in his 40s, tested positive for the deadly virus and died on Wednesday. He was the second confirmed case of Ebola in Goma.
A third case of the deadly disease was confirmed late Wednesday in the D.R.C city.
On July 15, Rwanda warned citizens against unnecessary travel to Goma, which shares a border with west Rwanda’s Rubavu district, with an estimated 100,000 people crossing daily between the two countries.
World Health Organization commended Rwanda’s Ebola preparedness efforts last week and confirmed there have been no Ebola cases in the eastern African country.
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