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Dramatic photo shows bishop blessing priest in Ebola quarantine

Credit: Will Swanson

A Congolese priest who was placed into quarantine after testing positive for Ebola has reportedly been released and declared Ebola-free.

A picture of Fr Lucien Ambunga kneeling as a bishop prayed for him across a fence went viral earlier in the week. It was posted on Twitter by the photographer, Will Swanson.

Fr Ambunga was said to have contracted the disease after ministering to a dying patient. The bishop who visited him has been identified as Bishop Fridolin Ambongo of Mbandaka-Bikoro.

The latest outbreak of the disease has killed 25 people so far, according to the health ministry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previous outbreaks have taken place in remote parts of the country but this time the cases are in Mbandaka, a city of one million people on the western edge of the country.

Cafod, the overseas aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, issued a statement from Abbé Louis Iyeli, the director of Caritas Mbandaka, who said: “We have an active team in Mbandaka and four local teams who are already on the ground in Bikoro, Ntondo, Itipo-Iboko and Ingende. Two others are monitoring neighbouring areas including Irebu and Lukolela. We will focus our efforts on prevention, water, hygiene and sanitation, community mobilisation and communication. We will therefore be relying on the support and involvement of priests, religious men and women, teachers and nursing staff working in the affected areas.”