By Francis Kokutse, Accra, Aug 12 IANS | 4 months ago

There is no panic movement out of West Africa by Indian nationals living in the region following the spread of the Ebola virus disease, officials of the Indian missions in Nigeria and Ghana have confirmed to IANS.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that a total of 1,848 cases have been reported with 1013 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone between Aug 7 and 9.

So far, Guinea has recorded 506 cases with 373 deaths, Liberia 599 cases with 373 deaths, Nigeria 13 cases with two deaths and Sierra Leone 730 cases with 315 deaths.

"There have been a few calls from people who were anxious about the disease, whilst others have expressed the desire to leave Nigeria, but there has not been any urgent need to move out," Sharad Srivastava, first secretary in the Indian high commission in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, said. The mission in Abuja is also accredited to Benin, Cameroun and Chad.

"Nobody is packing out and we do not have any information from other countries - that we are accredited to - showing that there is any panic among the Indian community," T.J. Suresh, information counsellor of the Indian high commission in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, said.

A few Indians on the streets of Accra said they were keenly following the news about the situation.

"I have heard of Ebola but fortunately there is no such case in Ghana so it is not as scary," businessman Mukesh Rao said.

Another businessman, A. Jain, said that "life is normal and from the information that is being passed around, Ebola, though scary, is not spread when you are careful not to get into a situation where you touch those who are infected with the virus".

In Nigeria, the Indian high commission has issued an advisory on its website to guide Indian nationals.

Among other things, it says: "Nigeria has declared Ebola outbreak a national emergency and is taking steps to contain its spread."

It also cautioned "all Indian residents in Nigeria and those planning to undertake unavoidable travel to Nigeria to adhere to the dos and don'ts circulated by the ministry of health and family welfare, government of India".

"As the disease is not airborne and is transmitted only through contact with body fluids of the affected, personal hygiene is a critical preventive measure," the advisory said and asked nationals to contact the high commission for any further assistance.

(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at fkokutse@gmail.com)

(Posted on 12-08-2014)

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