Government will cover cost of ebola priest’s repatriation

US, England and France request information about the transfer of missionary Miguel Pajares

Missionary Juliana Bohana Bohé is moved into Carlos III hospital in Madrid.
Missionary Juliana Bohana Bohé is moved into Carlos III hospital in Madrid.Emilio Naranjo (EFE)

The Spanish government will cover the costs of transfering a Spanish priest with the ebola virus from Liberia, official sources have been cited as saying by news agency EFE. The San Juan de Dios religious order, to which both Miguel Pajares and his fellow missionary Juliana Bohana Bohé (also brought back from Liberia, but not suffering from ebola) belong, had this morning announced that they would cover the expenses of the operation.

“We assume the cost and the responsibilities that need to be assumed,” said José María Viadero, the director of the Juan Ciudad NGO, to which San Juan de Dios belongs. The religious order counts on 300 hospitals in 52 different countries.

Pajares and Bohé were flown across half of Africa to Madrid in the early hours of Thursday morning. The priest, who has been confirmed as having caught the virus, and the nun, who is not currently showing any symptoms, were then taken in a convoy of more than 12 vehicles to from the Torrejón de Ardoz airbase to the Carlos III hospital in the city center. The San Juan de Dios religious order requested the repatriation from Liberia.

No more information will be released about Pajares on the specific request of the patient,the hospital said

Pajares is the first European to have been infected in this latest outbreak of ebola to have been transferred back to the continent. Once in the special isolation unit in the Madrid hospital, he was reported to be stable, with fever but not suffering hemorrhaging – a good sign given that bleeding is an indication of a worsening condition.

Tests carried out on Bonoha Bohé on Thursday confirmed that she has not contracted the virus, according to the hospital. However, the decision was taken to maintain isolation protocol as a precaution. As for Pajares, no more official information will be released, on the specific request of the patient, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Negotiations between the religious order and the Spanish government made the transfer of the priest from La Iglesuela (Toledo) possible. Pajares contracted ebola after taking care of and feeding the director of a hospital in Monrovia, who died on Saturday from the virus.

The Health Ministry has not yet clarified exactly how much the transfer of the patients cost

The United States, England and France have requested information from Spain about the transfer operation in order to study it, according to the Health Ministry.

In Monrovia, the Spanish team came into contact with members of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from Atlanta in the United States, which is in charge of the transfer and care of American victims of the outbreak, as well as with personnel from the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the general director of public health from the Health Ministry, Mercedes Vinuesa, the Spanish team was congratulated “for its abilities.”

NGO Juan Ciudad has also stated that one of its “priorities” is to send a medical team to the San José hospital in Monrovia to treat the missionaries who were left behind, including Sister Chantal Pascaline from Congo, and Paciencia Melgar, from Equatorial Guinea, who tested positive for the ebola virus.

The priest and the nun will be treated in Spain by a team of tropical disease specialists, as well as eight nurses and auxiliary staff. The cost of their hospital stay will be covered by the health system, according to officials.

Additional reporting by María Alejandra Torres.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS