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Zimbabwe Urges Citizens to Stop Visiting Ebola-Hit Nations

Health workers are handed personal protective gear by a team leader, right, before collecting the bodies of the deceased from streets in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. New figures released by the World Health Organization showed that Liberia

Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa issued a travel alert Wednesday warning local people not to travel to West African countries that have been hit by the deadly Ebola virus.

Zimbabwean Christians have over the years been traveling to Nigeria to visit preachers like TB Joshua in search of spiritual healing.

Parirenyatwa told Studio 7 it is not wise for Zimbabweans to visit Nigeria at the moment.

The outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria is the biggest Ebola epidemic to date. The World Health Organization on Tuesday said the overall death toll had risen to 1,229.

The U.N health agency said the number of confirmed and likely infections has risen to 2,240, including 113 new cases reported late last week.

The majority of the new deaths were in Liberia, where authorities have struggled to contain the virus.

The outbreak has prompted officials in neighboring West African countries and others to take precautions. Cameroon says it has closed all of its borders with neighboring Nigeria.

Parirenyatwa said it is better to try to prevent infections than try to heal those infected with the virus.

“We have identified Wilkins Hospital, one of the infectious disease centers in the capital as our command center for testing those exhibiting symptoms linked to Ebola especially incoming travelers,” he said.

“We will put any suspected cases on a 20-day observation to ensure the safety of our people while the virus is in its incubation stage,” added Parirenyatwa.