Mozambique set up checkpoints along its border with Malawi to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo from spreading to the country.
Travelers coming from Malawi will be monitored for the disease using a scanner, Hidayate Kassim, the provincial health director of the Zambezia region in Mozambique, told reporters, citing reports of "suspected" cases of Ebola in Malawi that have not been confirmed. Malawi has no direct border with Congo, but it borders Zambia and Tanzania, which both do.
Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases on Earth with a fatality rate as high as 90%, is among a handful of illnesses governments consider a threat to national security. The current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which began in August 2018, has infected more than 2400 people and killed more than 1800, making it the deadliest since a 2013 epidemic.
Mozambique has not yet reported a case of Ebola and the checkpoints are precautionary. It joins Rwanda in stepping up preventive measures. Congolese health authorities this week said they’d detected a third case of Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, a key trade hub of about 1 million people close to the Rwandan border.
Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, the Central African Republic, Burundi, South Sudan and the Republic of Congo all border the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organisation declared the current outbreak of Ebola an international public health emergency in July.
"Setting up Ebola checkpoints is a guideline given by a decision of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization to prevent the spread of the disease to other countries," Kassim said.
The Mozambique scanners started operating on Saturday in the Milage and Morrumbala Districts in Zambezia and they are expected to expand to other areas that border Malawi.