As cases of Ebola continued to increase in the eastern region of DRC, and travel-associated cases were reported in neighboring Uganda, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 17 declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC). Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the arrival of Ebola to Goma a "game-changer" that has alarmed the global humanitarian response community.
The two deaths, occurring in a major transport hub and a border city of two million people, deepened fears the epidemic could leapfrog to neighbouring countries.
On Thursday, Rwanda briefly shut its border crossings with Congo around the city, after the new cases emerged.
The almost year-long outbreak in DR Congo has infected more than 2,500 people and killed more than 1,700 - numbers only topped by a 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300.
The miner, who is believed to have contracted the virus in Ituri province, died on Wednesday, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).
To date, Rwanda has trained over 23,957 people including Doctors, Nurses, hospital staff, Community Health Workers, religious leaders, Red Cross Volunteers and security organs. More than 171,000 people have been vaccinated using an investigational Ebola vaccine, including frontline healthcare workers and other people who are at risk for Ebola, such as contacts of known Ebola cases. Of those, 160 had reportedly received an Ebola vaccine. He was the second confirmed Ebola case in the city.
The latest epidemic is the second deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.
Uganda has had multiple Ebola outbreaks in the past.
An Ebola Treatment Centre was put in place and 23 isolation units are being prepared in hospitals in 15 priority districts. Officials have documented as many as 200 attacks on health workers in Congo this year.
In AFP reporter in Goma and a resident in Gisenyi each confirmed in mid-morning that the frontier had been closed, while a Rwandan government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "it is closed", without giving further details. "It's a conflict zone and has been for the last 20-25 years, it's an area of opposition politically that has felt marginalized with a high distrust of local authorities". Although effective, the vaccine could not overcome impediments to virus containment in the country due to violence and resistance to health care interventions from communities that hadn't experienced the disease.