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Ebola end in sight, WHO says, as weekly cases fall below 100

The number of weekly Ebola cases in West Africa has fallen below 100 - for the first time in seven months. The World Health Organization says the slowing of infections allows them to readjust their efforts.

There were 99 confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the three most affected West African countries - in the week ending January 28, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

It's the first time since late June 2014 that the number has fallen below 100.

"The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said.

This means the organization will now focus on better managing the existing cases and carrying out safe burials, rather than building infrastructure.

The number of Ebola cases continues to fall in Liberia and Sierra Leone, however, Guinea saw 10 more cases in the week to 25 January, from 20 to 30.

Reality check

At the same time, the WHO's parent body, the United Nations, warned on Thursday the virus was not yet contained - despite the decreasing cases.

"The number of cases is decreasing week by week and getting to zero in many cases ... but we still see occasional flare-ups and we still see some surprises with new cases out of our contact lists," UN Ebola coordinator David Nabarro told news agency AFP.

Almost 9,000 people have died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa over the past year, according to the World Health Organization. Most of these cases have been in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

African leaders are due to discuss over the weekend the economic recovery of the Ebola-affected nations. The WHO has admitted it was slow in responding to the outbreak, and will adopt reforms to better respond to emergencies.

jr/rg (Reuters, AFP)

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