Protests in Hong Kong – October 14th 2014

WORLD HEALTH ALERT –  OCT 14: Protests in Hong Kong, Worldwide Ebola Update and Chikungunya in Puerto Rico.

Protests – Hong Kong

After more than two weeks of demonstrations, road closures, and disruptions in tram and bus services in Hong Kong’s financial district, tempers flare and neither side is backing down.  This past weekend, scuffles broke out between protest leaders and opponents of the demonstrations, and police were called in to calm the crowds.

Although the number of protesters had begun to dwindle from the tens of thousands who participated at the start, things have heated up again, and protesters have been camped out on the site of the demonstrations, next to Admiralty, a main thoroughfare.

These protests by students which started in late September, resulted from the National Committee’s unilateral decision that Hong Kong residents would not have democratic autonomy in the 2017 elections. Talks between Government and protest leaders, originally scheduled for last Friday, have been called off.  In response to this, the protesters began erecting barricades at protest sites, again blocking traffic and gaining no support from the general public.

If you expect to visit Hong Kong, be prepared for clogged traffic and road closures as well as crowds.  Ensure the minimum of disruption and potential risk in your daily schedule by following news bulletins and social media before making plans.

Ebola – Worldwide – W.H.O. report

The World Health Organisation has today issued some new projections on Ebola virus statistics, based on the cold fact that the death rate in this outbreak has risen to an astonishing 70 per-cent.

Assistant Director-General of the organisation, Dr. Bruce Aylward, stated that originally, WHO had estimated the death rate of the disease at 50%, however, based on the high mortality rate at present, the response rate must be stepped up within less than 60 days or new cases will spiral out of control.  Failing that, new estimates would suggest that the outbreak could eventually reach a staggering toll of 10,000 new cases per week within two months’ time. At present, there have been 1,000 new confirmed or suspected Ebola cases reported each week, in the last four weeks, and, Dr. Aylward goes on to say that steps must be taken to have at least 70% of cases isolated and treated to reverse the outbreak. The number of fatalities from the outbreak has now surpassed 4,400, the majority of which have been in West Africa.

Ebola- Senegal, Nigeria

The two least-affected West African nations, Senegal and Nigeria, report today that the outbreak is all but officially over.  The World Health Organisation expects to declare the official end to the outbreak in Senegal on Friday, October 17th.  There is an official requisite of 42 days without new recorded Ebola cases before it can be declared that an outbreak is over.  Nigeria will have passed the 42 days on October 20th should no new cases have been reported.

Chikungunya – Puerto Rico

As Chikungunya Fever continues to sweep through Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 2,000 cases of the Dengue-like virus spread by mosquitoes have been registered in Puerto Rico, with 3 or more deaths reported in greater San Juan and suburbs.

Fear is spreading through this heavily-populated and enormously popular island that the upcoming winter season will only increase the risks of transmission to visitors.

If you are planning a visit to the Caribbean this winter season, please do so with care, and contact us at one of our Travel Health Clinics  for a pre-travel check-up and a Free consultation on how to protect yourself from disease during your holiday.