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Ebola efforts 'hampered by mistrust of health workers'

The response to the Ebola outbreak across West Africa has been badly hampered by a local mistrust of health care workers, officials have said.

Many have developed suspicions against the workers, who are often clad in plastic protective gear and protective face masks, and have shunned their help - preferring instead to die in their own homes.

Many local people do not trust health workers sent to help tackle the Ebola outbreak
Many local people do not trust health workers sent to help tackle the Ebola outbreak Credit: Reuters

In Guinea, riots broke out in the southern city of Nzerekore after rumours began circulating that officials had sprayed the market with Ebola to deliberately infect people.

And some health workers have contributed to the spread of the disease after unknowingly contracting the virus, and carrying it to the very communities they are trying to help.

More than 120 care workers have died in the epidemic to date, and Liberia reported five new cases of infection among them in just one day this week.

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Battery on Ashya King's food system 'likely expired'

The battery on the feeding system of missing five-year-old boy Ashya King is "now likely to have expired", police have said.

Ashya's family took him from Southampton General Hospital at around 2pm yesterday, before travelling on a ferry to France around two hours later.

Ashya King was taken from Southampton General Hospital yesterday afternoon
Ashya King was taken from Southampton General Hospital yesterday afternoon Credit: Hamp

Hampshire Police Asst Ch Cons Chris Shead said medical experts had told them in the last hour that the battery life on the machine which feeds him would have died by now.

We don't know whether the King family have any spares, the knowledge, or any way of recharging the battery. If they don't, without properly administered food, Ashya's condition will deteriorate very quickly. With each hour that passes our concern for him grows.

– Asst Ch Cons Chris Shead, Hampshire Police
Wales

RNLI stood down but search for missing boy continues

Helicopter
Search and rescue helicopter at Aberffraw beach earlier today. Credit: Dil Griff

Three RNLI lifeboats involved in the search for a child missing in waters off Anglesey have been stood down for the evening, ITV News has been told.

Crews from Porthdinllaen, Holyhead and Trearddur Bay were called to assist with the search at around one o'clock this afternoon.

Coastguards, Sea King rescue helicopters from RAF Valley and North Wales Police have all been scouring the coastline for the boy.

Health officials: Number of Ebola cases is rocketing

The number of Ebola cases has risen more this week than any other week since the epidemic began, health officials have warned.

The World Health Organisation labelled the latest figures as a clear sign the outbreak is spiralling out of control, saying it was an "international health emergency".

A new mobile laboratory has opened this week in Sierra Leone's capital city Freetown to test local cases, with the aim of speeding up the response time.

It has also unveiled a £296 million ($490m) plan to try to contain the epidemic.

Iceland: Experts still braced for major eruption

A small volcanic eruption in Iceland's Bardarbunga system has now stopped, and all airspace restrictions have been lifted.

But experts have warned the worst may not be over, with a major eruption causing an ash cloud similar to the 2010 eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano still a possibility.

Steam and ash rise from the Bardarbunga volcano after a small eruption overnight
Steam and ash rise from the Bardarbunga volcano after a small eruption overnight Credit: Reuters

Nick Petford, a vulcanology expert at the University of Northampton, said:

Exactly the same thing happened in 2010 with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The main eruption was in April, but in March there was a fissure eruption which was a precursor to the much larger eruption.

– Nick Petford, University of Northampton

He said scientists would now begin examining the volcano to try to detect any quakes deeper below the surface.

Experts have warned a major eruption is still possible
Experts have warned a major eruption is still possible Credit: Reuters

He added:

Those are pretty clear evidence that large amounts of magma are being stored within the volcano and that's a good indication it will explode.

– Nick Petford, University of Northampton

The country's Met Office earlier reduced its ash warning level down from red to orange, after finding there was no threat to aircraft.

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Loom band charm supplier suspends sales

The supplier behind charms believed to contain high levels of cancer-causing chemicals has said they immediately suspended sales after the discovery.

Manchester-based RMS International, which provided the charms to The Entertainer, said it had also started re-testing all other relevant products.

RMS International has started re-testing all other relevant products
RMS International has started re-testing all other relevant products Credit: Geoff Kirby/EMPICS Entertainment

A spokesman said:

We have been importing loom bands into the UK for a number of months and more recently added the charms. Our quality control department maintains due diligence and holds all the required paperwork and test reports.

When we became aware of other products in the market that may contain phthalates we suspended delivery and further shipments of any item containing a PVC charm. We also re-initiated testing of all relevant products.

– RMS International spokesman

They added that the problem only involved some of the PVC loom charms, not the loom bands, and advised any customers with concerns to return their product to where they bought it from.

Read: Loom band charms recalled over cancer chemical fears

Western governments critcised over Ebola response

Health workers battling the outbreak of Ebola in Africa has warned the current response from Western countries is inadequate, and risks aggravating the crisis.

Mego Terziam, head of the French arm of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), accused the Western world of not caring because they were not directly affected.

He said the epidemic was getting worse each day and neither they, the World Health Organisation nor the governments of affected countries had the means to contain it.

Mego Terzian, head of Medecins sans Frontieres France, has called for Western governments to do more
Mego Terzian, head of Medecins sans Frontieres France, has called for Western governments to do more Credit: Reuters

He said Western governments' approach of encouraging local authorities to isolate the problem, close borders and stop air traffic, they were causing more harm than good.

I am extremely pessimistic if there is not a substantial international mobilisation.

Organisations like the WHO and MSF will be not capable to mobilise additional human resources, additional logistics in order to control the epidemic.

As long as Western countries are not infected, I have the impression there will not be a serious mobilisation.

There have been a lot of speeches and promises of financial support, but that's it.

– Mego Terziam, Medecins sans Frontieres
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