13th Oct 2019

Hollande first EU leader to visit Ebola-hit Guinea

  • According to the World Health Organization, almost 16,000 people have been infected with the virus. (Photo:

French president Francois Hollande will visit Guinea on Friday (28 November), making him the first European head of state – even the first non-African leader – to visit one of the three Western African countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak.

The outbreak, which started in Guinea almost a year ago with the death of 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno, has claimed at least 5,689 lives.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 16,000 people have been infected with the virus.

The real death toll and number of infected people is likely to be much higher, since they “continue to be under-reported in this outbreak”, according to the WHO.

Almost all the cases and deaths occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The WHO noted that reporting of cases is “stable” in Guinea, and “stable or declining” in Liberia, but it “may still be rising in Sierra Leone”, where in the week to Sunday (23 November), 385 new cases were confirmed.

On his one-day visit to Guinea, meant to send a “message of solidarity”, president Hollande will visit Donka hospital in the capital Conakry, where the French Pasteur Institute has set up a laboratory.

He will also meet and give a press conference with his Guinean counterpart Alpha Conde.

It is the first time a French president visits Guinea since 1999, according to France 24.

Earlier in November, EU commissioner Christos Stylianides, who was recently appointed as the bloc's Ebola "co-ordinator, visited the three outbreak countries.

After his visit, Stylianides said the need for medical staff in the region is urgent.

“More of them are needed and we must intensify our joint efforts to contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat this virus”, he said.

Meanwhile, in a case which shows how quickly the virus can spread, Ebola has also reached Mali, which borders Guinea to the north-east.

A Guinean imam with Ebola symptoms travelled from his native village Kouremale to the Malian capital Bamako for treatment on 25 October.

There, a 25-year-old nurse was infected with the virus, and died on 11 November. Less than two weeks later, the nurse's 23-year-old fiancee was also infected. She is currently in an Ebola treatment center in Bamako, set up last week.

Back in Kouremale, the funeral of the imam attracted thousands of mourners.

“Some of them touched the body as part of the traditional funeral ceremony”, the WHO reported, creating a risk of further contagion.


Merkel to visit Brussels this WEEK

The German chancellor will visit the European Commission for the first time since Jean-Claude Juncker took over on 1 November.

Commission takes Poland to court on eve of election

As Poland's combative Law and Justice party faces elections this Sunday, the commission once again sends a case on its domestic judiciary reforms to the European Court of Justice for breaking EU rules.

Hungary faces EU court for starving migrants

The European Commission is one step away from taking Hungary to court if it does not offer a credible explanation for why it denied detained migrants food in its transit zones along the Serbian border.

News in Brief

  1. Italy: EU cannot accept Turkish 'blackmail'
  2. Is a Brexit deal still possible?
  3. EU and UK to 'intensify' Brexit talks
  4. Norway hit by train strike over EU regulations
  5. Macron says he warned von der Leyen on Goulard
  6. France: EU will retaliate in aviation state aid battle
  7. EU considers new rules and agency against dirty money
  8. France against accession talks for North Macedonia, Albania


Habsburg lessons for Europe's foreign policy

The EU is facing similar challenges. Like the Habsburgs, it must work out ways to navigate an increasingly messy geo-political map and stand firm without the advantage of military predominance.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us