Spain “will get the repatriation protocol under way” for a Spanish priest working in Liberia who tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, a source in the health ministry told Efe on Tuesday.
The risks of contagion are “very low” and the repatriation will be carried out in accord with high-security procedures stipulated by the World Health Organization, the source said.
The Rev. Miguel Pajares, 75, is among several members of religious orders being treated in isolation at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, whose director, Patrick Nshamdze, recently died of Ebola.
The agreement to begin Pajares’ repatriation was reached in a videoconference involving Spanish and European Union officials.
“After the repatriation petition by the religious order – the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God – is made official, the Spanish Health, Social Services and Equality Ministry will undertake the repatriation protocol,” the source said.
Testing positive for Ebola along with Pajares were two nuns from the Order of the Immaculate Conception, Sisters Chantal Pasaline Mutwamene and Paciencia Melgar, who are also in isolation at St. Joseph’s.
“I’d like (to go to Spain) because we’ve had a very bad experience with what’s happened here. Here we are abandoned and they’re not taking care of us. We want to go to Spain and for them to treat us as people, as God orders,” Pajares told Efe earlier by telephone.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected 1,603 people, of whom 887 have died, according to figures provided on Monday by WHO.
Liberia is one of the most heavily affected countries by the Ebola outbreak, and more than 150 people have succumbed to it there since it was first detected in March.