Britain on Friday hailed the anticipated end of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, as the African country is set to be declared Ebola free on Saturday.
"Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress in tackling the outbreak and we will continue to stand by them," British International Development Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement.
In the statement, Greening claimed that the two countries' efforts "saved thousands of lives in West Africa and helped protect the UK from an epidemic that was only ever a plane ride away."
"By strengthening health systems, funding vaccine trials and working with survivors we are helping the country get back on its feet and prepare for future crises, so it can look ahead to a brighter future," Greening said.
"Our objective is to support the Government of Sierra Leone to end the current outbreak, and to maintain the vigilance and preparedness necessary to prevent any future outbreaks from growing into epidemics," said a statement issued Friday by Britain's Department for International Development (DFID).
In September, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia, another African country plagued by the virus, free of Ebola transmission in the human population.
Britain was not the only country that responded quickly to the Ebola crisis.
After the outbreak of the fatal epidemic, China was the first country to send health workers to the affected countries in West Africa, and one of the first countries to make international medical donations.
In August, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to three West African countries worst hit by Ebola, saying China will cooperate with Africa in reducing poverty and realizing development after defeating the epidemic.
Wang was the first foreign minister of a world major power to visit the West African region following the outbreak of the deadly virus in 2014.
By Ruchi Singh
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