Obama: World must remain ‘fully engaged’ against Ebola

Obama: World must remain ‘fully engaged’ against Ebola
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President Obama on Wednesday warned that the world cannot be “complacent” in the fight against Ebola, even as the number of new cases drops to zero in parts of West Africa.

“We have to be vigilant, and the international community has to remain fully engaged in a partnership with these three countries until there are no cases of Ebola,” Obama said after a meeting with the leaders of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

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While touting “major progress” against the disease, the president said there are still new cases of the disease appearing in some parts of the region.

“We can’t be complacent. This virus is unpredictable,” he added.

Fewer than 40 people were diagnosed with Ebola last week in both Sierra Leone and Guinea — the lowest number in nearly a year — and Liberia reported no new cases.

The U.S. pulled out its 2,000 troops from West Africa early in 2015, though some members of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain in the area.

As the three West African nations set their sights on rebuilding, Obama said the United States would “stand shoulder to shoulder” to help them recover from an epidemic that has killed more than 10,000 people since last year.

He delivered remarks shortly after meeting with Vice President Biden, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Guinean President Alpha Condé, and Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma.

The three presidents are in D.C. to meet with officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as they seek relief to start rebuilding their health systems and economies, Obama said.

The House Appropriations Committee also held a panel Wednesday on funding to fight Ebola. Top officials, including CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, attended the hearing.