World intensifies efforts to combat spreading Ebola
BEIJING, Oct. 8 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Global efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak have been intensified after a nurse in Spain was infected with the deadly virus and raised concerns of contagion in Europe.
The nurse, identified as Teresa Romero from the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid and aged 44, became the first person to contract the Ebola disease outside Africa after caring for two elderly Spanish missionaries who died from the virus after they returned from West Africa.
After the Spanish case revealed possible safety failures and inexperience in dealing with Ebola, the international community has intensified efforts to combat the disease.
The UN committee on administrative and budgetary issues on Tuesday adopted a resolution allocating 49.9 million U.S. dollars for the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
"The establishment of UNMEER is the first step in the global efforts to contain the outbreak, which must be further strengthened by a wide range of actions and measures at all levels," General Assembly President Sam Kutesa said.
Established on Sept. 19, UNMEER teams have been deployed to the mission's headquarters in Accra, Ghana, and to offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, the United States is also cranking up its efforts against Ebola, its largest-ever response to an international health crisis.
As many as 4,000 U.S. servicemen will be deployed in West Africa and U.S. military efforts to deal with the Ebola crisis are expected to cost 750 million dollars in six months, Army Gen. David Rodriguez said Tuesday.
Most of the troops will work on constructing treatment centers, training local health care providers and helping with the logistics of the global efforts.
Besides, U.S. troops are running three mobile testing labs and plan to set up four more in West Africa to help work with the blood samples of infected patients and give a diagnosis in hours, Rodriguez said.
At home, health care providers are implementing many precautions -- considering new screening procedures at U.S. airports, reviewing triage procedures, creating isolation units, and even sending actors with mock symptoms into New York City's public hospital emergency rooms to test reactions.
In Texas, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian diagnosed to be the first person infected with the Ebola virus in the United States, is showing improved liver function, though he remains in critical condition, hospital officials said.
The European Union will allocate 1.26 million dollars to UNICEF, enabling three Boeing 747 cargo planes to transport vital material to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the European Commission said in a press release issued Tuesday.
Another 3.78 million dollars will help in the set-up of a medical evacuation system that will enable international workers in West Africa diagnosed with the Ebola disease to be evacuated in less than 48 hours by plane to hospitals within Europe that are equipped to deal with the disease.
The European Commission has been scaling up its response to the Ebola outbreak since March and has so far pledged about 226.8 million dollars to help the countries affected by the Ebola virus.
Dozens of British troops are due to fly to Sierra Leone next week to help build medical facilities.
British Prime Minister David Cameron will also hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to coordinate his country's response to the outbreak, his office said. Sweden on Tuesday allocated an additional 14.69 million dollars in humanitarian support to contain the Ebola outbreak and the country's total contribution to combat the disease has reached about 20.28 million dollars, according to the country's foreign ministry.
According to UN figures, more than 6,500 people are believed to have been infected, and more than 3,300 have died since the outbreak was confirmed in March.