FORMER South Shields MP David Miliband has warned that efforts to tackle the Ebola virus in Africa are at an ‘absolute tipping point’.
Mr Miliband, who is now the head of the International Rescue Committee, spoke out during a visit to Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.
He says the outbreak – which has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa – could become an ‘epidemic of a very serious kind’.
The former British foreign secretary added that the virus could also set back years of social and economic progress in Sierra Leone.
Mr Milliband said: “One of the things that has become starkly clear to me in my visit is that there’s no grey area here between controlling the disease on the one hand and widespread disaster on the other. We’re at an absolute tipping point, where either the disease is contained to the low tens of thousands, or it becomes an epidemic of a very serious kind.”
Miliband was speaking as anxiety in the UK mounted over the possibility that there could be cases in the country.
But he said he didn’t feel brave for flying into Sierra Leone.
He said: “I don’t think the leader of an NGO can call himself brave for going somewhere when 300 staff of his organisation are working here every day.
“There are no grounds for panic.
“This is a hard disease to catch. It requires the exchange of body fluids.
“But there’s no reason not to take sensible precautions.”