BEIRUT: Lebanon's Agriculture Ministry banned the import of live animals from Ebola-hit African countries, as part of the government's measures to combat the risk of the fatal virus.
In a decision numbered 622/1, Minister Akram Chehayeb “banned the import of live animals - chimpanzees, gorillas, bats, monkeys, forest antelope, porcupines or any animal suspected of being a carrier of the disease - from African countries where the Ebola outbreak took place into Lebanon until further notice.”
The decision came weeks after the Beirut airport took measures to scan and report passengers who have symptoms associated with the disease, while the Labor Ministry suspended work permits for people coming from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to combat the outbreak, which Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned has become “out of control.”
The World Health Organization said Friday that the epidemic was an "extraordinary event" and constituted an international health risk.
The agency said the possible consequences of further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,000 people in four West African countries, were "particularly serious" in view of the virulence of the virus.
"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have declared a state of emergency while Spain said it was treating an elderly priest who contracted the disease while helping patients in Liberia.