Mbandaka, the capital of the Equateur province, is a transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than one million people.
"I can confirm to you that we have a new outbreak of Ebola in Mbandaka ... Therefore, I am planning to go there to provide technical support to the response team", Longondo said, as quoted by the local 7sur7 news website.
According to the minister, samples of suspicious cases from Mbandaka that were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) came back positive for Ebola.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), confirmed on Monday that a new outbreak of Ebola was detected near Mbandaka, adding that of six registered patients, four have died. The WHO head noted that the country was also in the final phase of battling Ebola in its eastern part.
.@WHO already has staff in Mbandaka, #DRC supporting the new #Ebola outbreak response.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 1, 2020
This outbreak is a reminder that #COVID19 is not the only health threat people face. WHO is continuing to monitor & respond to many health emergencies.
In April, the country was expected to declare the end of the Ebola epidemic. However, more than 50 days after the region's last Ebola patient recovered on 27 March, a new case was reported in the eastern region of Kivu. The patient died on 10 April.
The epidemic began in summer 2018 and has claimed over 2,200 lives.