Ebola Crisis Is ‘Vastly Underestimated’

Medical authorities have hugely underestimated the vast scale of the Ebola virus racing across West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As the death toll mounts, doctors say huge swathes of the continent are affected by the illness and no one really knows how many have contracted the incurable disease or how many have died.

Official figures put the number of dead at just under 2,000 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

However doctors explained that the only way of certainty over the numbers is monitoring everyone an infected person has come into contact with over a 21 day incubation period.

“The health infrastructure in these countries does not have the resources to come anywhere near this massive task,” said a WHO spokesman.

“Our staff considers the numbers infected and dying are vastly underestimated.”

Problems in counting the patients include families refusing to give up relatives with the illness and possibly thousands of cases in outlying areas with no easy access to medical facilities.

“In some cases, families have beaten doctors who are trying to help victims and barricade them out of reach,” said a Liberian government spokesman.

The result, warns the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is flights and travel in the four infected countries are seriously limited or curtailed until further notice.

Expats and business travellers are warned to stay away unless travel is essential.

Pakistan political protests

Massive demonstrations organised by the political opposition in Pakistan will crowd out the centre of the capital Islamabad over the weekend (August 15 -16) – and are expected to stay in place into early into the following week.

Most protestors are travelling along the Grand Trunk Road from Lahore.

Police are warning of unexpected road closures and disruption to trips between Lahore and Rawalpindi.

The FCO is warning expats and travellers to stay away from the protests.

Malaysia kidnap alert

The FCO is warning against all but essential travel to islands off the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia, from Kudat to Tawau, following terrorist threats against foreigners, including kidnapping.

Egypt deaths

Expats and travellers in Egypt should be on alert when travelling outside Sharm Al Shiekh following a series of attacks and bomb blasts by terrorists. A US traveller and three South Koreans have already die in incidents this month.

“Attacks are indiscriminate and our information is more are planned,” said an FCO spokesman.

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