UK issues Tanzania travel advisory, cites Ebola-related death

Tuesday October 1 2019

A motor taxi driver gets his hands washed at an Ebola screening station

A motor taxi driver gets his hands washed at an Ebola screening station on the road between Butembo and Goma on July 16, 2019 in Goma. The UK government has issued a travel advisory on travel to Tanzania. PHOTO | JOHN WESSELS | AFP 

KIPLAGAT EDWIN
By KIPLAGAT EDWIN
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British nationals living in and those travelling to Tanzania are being urged by the UK government to exercise caution citing “probable Ebola-related death”.

“A person has died in Tanzania in September 2019. It appears probable that this is an Ebola-related death. The WHO continues to investigate and has issued a statement,” UK Foreign Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The British High Commission in Dar es Salaam is in contact with Tanzanian authorities and international health organisations, and this travel advice will be updated as new information becomes available,” it added.

The Tanzanian government has remained tight-lipped about Ebola rumours in the country.

The female doctor suspected to have contracted the haemorrhagic fever tested negative, according to the government.

“The tests were to find out whether the patients were infected by Ebola or not, and we confirmed them negative,” Dr Chaula Zaina, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health told The EastAfrican last week.

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She, however, declined to reveal the results of the tests.

Last month, the government also summoned the WHO representative in the country over the agency’s statement that it had refused to share information on suspected Ebola cases.

About 75,000 British nationals visit Tanzania every year, according to UK government figures.

The travel alert also cited dangers of crime, terrorism and threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, without giving further details.

Ebola has claimed more than 2,000 lives and there have been over 3,000 confirmed infections in DR Congo alone since the outbreak on August 1, 2018, according to WHO figures.

Tanzania borders DR Congo to the west.