The Latest: US, EU promise support to tackle Ebola

BENI, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Ebola (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The top U.S. diplomat in Geneva says the United States will “provide more in the coming months” to help respond to the Ebola outbreak, while the European Union ambassador says the bloc will examine possibilities to scale up its response.

U.S. Charge d’Affaires Mark Cassayre also told a U.N. conference on Ebola Monday that the United States is calling on member states to increase their contributions to the response, which the World Health Organization says is underfunded.

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EU ambassador Walter Stevens noted that the bloc has provided some $20 million in support since last year, plus in-kind and logistical support, and “will look into possibilities to scale up the response.”

Nearly 1,700 people have died in Congo in the outbreak, and a first case appeared in the eastern city of Goma over the weekend.

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2 p.m.

The head of the World Health Organization says he is reconvening the U.N. agency’s expert committee to assess whether or not the continuing Ebola outbreak in Congo warrants being declared a global emergency.

At a meeting convened in Geneva by WHO on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of Ebola to Goma, a city of 2 million people was a potential “game-changer.” He said the development was one WHO and Congolese officials had been prepared for and described the situation as one of the most complex humanitarian emergencies ever faced.

Still, Tedros said the U.N. agency is “confident” in the response measures put in place and predicted there would be no further Ebola cases in Goma.

Tedros did not say when the expert committee would be convened; the group has met three times previously and decided each time against declaring the epidemic to be an international emergency.

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12 p.m.

With Ebola reaching Congo’s eastern city of Goma, authorities are tracking down bus passengers who rode with a pastor who became the first confirmed case in the regional capital.

Dr. Harouna Djingarey with the World Health Organization’s Ebola response said they have located the two buses that the man took before he reached Goma on Sunday.

Djingarey said Monday that the case is worrying because Goma is “the door of this region to the rest of the world.” The city of more than 2 million is on the border with Rwanda.

Health officials have feared since the beginning of the outbreak last August that cases could emerge in Goma.

The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 1,700 people in Congo and two others who returned home to Uganda while sick.

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