Ebola Spreads To Fifth African Country

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The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is warning British expats, business travellers and holidaymakers to stay away from a long list of global trouble spots.

Top of the list are the five West African nations struggling to deal with the deadly Ebola virus.

Sierra Leone and Liberia have declared a state of emergency, and many airlines are refusing to fly in or out of the countries.

Border posts are blockaded by troops as medical authorities battle to contain the disease that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives since the first case was reported in Guinea in February.

Doctors in Nigeria and Benin are also treating cases.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international emergency and is calling on the US and Europe to contribute doctors and medical supplies to help.

The tragedy is Ebola virus affects some of the poorest countries in the world, so the likelihood of Western pharmaceutical countries spending billions on developing a drug to combat the illness is small.

The chance of the virus spreading to developed countries with top-class frontline medical facilities is slight.

“Everyone should avoid any area linked with Ebola,” said an FCO spokesman. “There is no known cure although treatment can relieve the symptoms and nine out of 10 people infected die.”

Egypt terror alert

Terrorism alerts in Egypt have led to the FCO to issue travel warnings for many areas popular with tourists.

Attacks on police and the military in Sinai have resulted in several deaths. The only safe area, advises the FCO, is within the Sharm El Sheikh perimeter on the Red Sea coast.

“Our information is terrorists are planning more attacks,” said an FCO spokesman. ”The fear is these are indiscriminate and without warning.

“Incidents involving tourists or tourist areas cannot be ruled out.”

Pakistan days of protests

Rising political tension in Pakistan could lead to problems for travellers over the next few days.

Street protests are expected in Lahore over the weekend of August 9-10.

Meanwhile, August 14 is national independence day and huge demonstrations have been called for in the capital Islamabad.

“Opposition parties have called for several days of protest in the centre of the city, which will be extremely disruptive,” said an FCO spokesman.

The M2 motorway from Lahore to Islamabad will be closed and filling stations on the Grand Trunk Road have been ordered to shut.

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