No Indian in Guinea infected by Ebola virus

No Indian national in Guinea is known to have been infected by the Ebola virus disease, according to an Indian national based in Conakry.

IANS| Last Updated: Nov 29, 2014, 17:13 PM IST

Accra: No Indian national in Guinea is known to have been infected by the Ebola virus disease, according to an Indian national based in Conakry.

Guinea is one of the worst affected West African countries, the other two being Sierra Leone and Liberia. So far, the disease has claimed 1,214 lives out of 2,047 reported cases in Guinea.

Conakry-based John Rao told a news agency on phone that since the outbreak of the disease, the Indian community has coped "quite well, indeed," adding that, "there has been no panic in the community".

"Some people have sent back their families to India. All usual precautions like washing hands are being taken," he said

Currently, there are about 500 Indians based in the country in various industries agriculture, and trading.

"A number of Indian professionals (engineers and in other fields) are also working in Guinea," Rao said.

Amongst them is Topaz Group of Multi-Industries, owned by the Honorary Indian Consul, Ashok Vaswaney, which is one of the biggest employers in the country.

Rao praised Vaswaney for providing regular updates on the Ebola situation and the various precautions needed to be taken.

"They (the consul office) have also provided all consular assistance for those wishing to travel back to India," he added.

"The Indian community has extended assistance to the Guinea government's efforts to fight the disease and has donated generously toward the same," Rao said.

The Guinean government is itself facing a big problem to deal with the disease because of the attitude of the people who do not want to accept its seriousness which is one reason why it had spread so fast among some communities.

As a result, the country's President, Alpha Conde, has threatened to use force to crack down on the people who were still not following simple rules to contain the disease.

In September, eight members of an Ebola awareness team were murdered by angry villagers and President Conde had said that "there are still people who think Ebola is fiction".

"If people don't want to be treated, we will use force because we won't allow the illness to spread despite all our efforts," he added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a total of 15,351 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in six affected countries -- Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the US -- and two previously affected countries -- Nigeria, Senegal -- as of Nov 18.

There have been 5,459 reported deaths. A total of 588 healthcare workers are known to have been infected with EVD: 94 in Guinea, 341 in Liberia, two in Mali; 11 in Nigeria, 136 in Sierra Leone, one in Spain, and three in the United States of America (two were infected in the US and one in Guinea). A total of 337 HCWs have died.