Ebola virus
Ebola virus

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- There has been an overall decline in the number of new Ebola cases, especially in the three most affected African countries, said a UN official on Ebola on Tuesday.

Briefing on the progress in the global Ebola response to a UN General Assembly meeting, Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, new head of United Nations' Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) said that "the devastating spread of the disease has slowed."

According to Ahmed, among the three most affected countries, Liberia has recorded the sharpest decline, from averages exceeding 300 cases per week in August and September to less than 10 cases per week today. In the past three weeks, the number of new cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea has been at its lowest since August and late July of last year respectively.

While the numbers of overall new cases has come down, the disease has spread across a larger geographic area, the UN official said, warning against complacency in the fight against Ebola.

Too many communities in Ebola-affected countries are still refusing to acknowledge the disease and are resisting response efforts, he said.

In this regard, Ahmed called on the international community to strengthen efforts in social mobilization and community ownership, and also adjust the global response to the evolving nature of the disease.

Also on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to national stakeholders, community leaders, response actors and member states to stay engaged and sustain the global effort in fighting Ebola.

"The outbreak has taught us that there is no room for complacency," said Ban. "Resources continue to be required to adjust the response, monitor chains of transmission and end the outbreak."