GENEVA, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said the ongoing Ebola outbreak continued to constitute a public health emergency of international concern despite the lowest number of newly confirmed cases reported last week in West Africa.
On Thursday, WHO convened the fifth meeting of the Ebola emergency committee to discuss the Ebola outbreak and the current temporary recommendations.
The committee said in a statement that as a result of further improvements in Ebola prevention and control activities across West Africa, including in the area of contact tracing, the overall risk of international spread appears to have further reduced since January with a decline in case incidence and geographic distribution in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
"This progress has been recorded across all three countries," Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General, told a press conference Friday, noting the newly confirmed cases from Sierra Leone in the last week was down to nine, Guinea reported only 21 cases and Liberia reported zero cases in the last couple of weeks.
"The risk of international spread appeared to be reducing, this was a result of the work being done in the countries," he said.
The committee concluded that the outbreak, which claimed over 10,000 lives and infected more than 25,000 cases, continued to constitute a global public health emergency and recommended that all previous temporary recommendations be extended.
Additional health measures, such as quarantine of returning travelers, refusal of entry, cancellation of flights and border closures, significantly interfere with international travel and transport and negatively impact both the response and recovery efforts, the committee added.