US government approves $8m to buy clean-up robots to clean up Ebola-affected areas
US government officials have approved $8 million for a US government program to buy five robots for use in the fight against Ebola.
The funding, announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), comes after a long-term review of what the agency could do to help combat the spread of the virus.
In a statement on Tuesday, the CDC said the US military was “actively engaged” in the battle against Ebola in West Africa.
The agency was also reviewing a similar program that has helped fight the disease in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the statement said.
“This will enable the military to provide training to local health authorities and help them to identify potential Ebola-infected areas and to address the spread,” the statement added.
A team from the CDC has been training local health officials in Liberia and Sierra Guinea on the use of the robots.
“The US military will continue to support the efforts of local governments to combat Ebola, and will continue its work with partners in the United States and abroad to assist with training and logistics support for local health efforts,” the agency said.
In a separate announcement on Tuesday the CDC announced the creation of a new Ebola task force to focus on identifying and mitigating the spread and control of the epidemic in West African countries.
The task force is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, and includes officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Department of Defense, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Centers for Diseases Control and Protection (CDC).