News National Leaders turn heat up on Ebola

Leaders turn heat up on Ebola

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World leaders have called on governments yet to contribute to the fight against Ebola to step up, while also warning of an urgent need to address systemic issues that expose the global economy to impacts of infectious disease.

A G20 leaders’ statement issued on Saturday in Brisbane has voiced deep concern about the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola, which has so far killed more than 5000 people in West Africa.

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“This outbreak illustrates the urgency of addressing longer-term systemic issues and gaps in capability, preparedness and response capacity that expose the global economy to the impacts of infectious disease,” the statement said.

The statement came after US President Barack Obama earlier on Saturday used a speech at the University of Queensland to also challenge nations to do more on Ebola.

The leaders’ statement said the G20 was committed to doing what was necessary to ensure international efforts “extinguish” the deadly virus.

A commitment was also made to use bilateral, regional and multilateral channels, in partnership with aid groups, to combat the crisis.

“We will work to expedite the effective and targeted disbursement of funds and other assistance, balancing between emergency and longer-term needs,” the statement said.

The statement also urged that countries give more than just money to fight the disease, including sending qualified and trained medical teams and personnel, as well as equipment.

Earlier, Mr Obama warned that while the latest outbreak had been largely confined to West Africa, the virus represented a risk for all.

“We cannot build a mote around our countries and we shouldn’t try,” he said.