Suspected Ebola victim tests negative for virus

Italy’s health minister Beatrice Lorenzin on Thursday said that a 53-year-old doctor, who is currently being treated in Rome after coming into contact with a colleague infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone in September, has tested negative for the virus.

Suspected Ebola victim tests negative for virus
West Africa has been hit this year with the worst outbreak of Ebola ever seen. File photo: Seyllou/AFP

The orthopedic surgeon, who was working with the humanitarian organization, Emergency, in the West African country, was flown to Rome for treatment after coming into contact with a colleague infected with the Ebola virus on September 16th. 

However on Thursday Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said that the man, who will remain under observation at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome until October 16th, has tested negative for the virus, Corriere della Sera reported.

“The case of the doctor from Emergency being treated at Spallanzani is not a case [of the virus],” Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin was quoted as saying.

“He is not ill with Ebola. The tests came out negative,” she added.

Another person, a Nigerian woman who was also flown back from Africa, was also being held at the Institute with suspected Ebola. However she was found to have malaria.

According to the World Health Organization there are currently 1,800 people ill with the virus in Sierra Leone, with around 30 new cases reported each day. 

In Sierra Leone alone, over 110 health workers have contracted the virus.

Meanwhile, on Thursday a top US health official urged swift action to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from becoming the next AIDS epidemic, as the health of an infected Spanish nurse deteriorated.

The United Nations chief called for a 20-fold increase in the world's response to the spread of Ebola, which has killed nearly 3,900 people in West Africa since the beginning of the year.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?