Rwanda Shuts Border with Democratic Republic of Congo Over Ebola

Rwanda has closed its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country struggles to contain the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus, as a third case has been reported in the border city of Goma.

Oliver Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s state minister for foreign affairs, said Thursday the government has shut down the border at the northeastern town of Gisenyi, which it shares with Goma, home to more than a million people and where tens of thousands cross on foot daily.

The decision by Kigali runs counter to a plea made by the World Health Organization for countries not to close their borders or impose restrictions on travels to the Congo.  

Congolese health officials have confirmed that the young daughter of a man who died of the virus earlier this week is showing symptoms of the disease.  The man was diagnosed a few days after arriving in Goma from a northeastern rural community in Ituri province.

Earlier this month, a pastor tested positive and later died after arriving in Goma by bus, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the Ebola outbreak in Ituri and the conflict-ridden North Kivu province a global health emergency.  

Of the more than 2,500 cases of Ebola that have been reported since the outbreak began exactly one year ago this month, nearly 1,670 people have died.  

This is the 10th outbreak of the disease over the last four decades in the DRC.  It is the second largest outbreak after the 2014 historic epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people.