The US and Ukraine could work together to stop the spread of the Zika, the country’s President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday, urging international efforts to contain the disease and help people affected by it.
The United States and the European Union have pledged more than $1bn to aid Ukraine, the world’s third-largest economy.
Poroshenko said the world was still trying to understand how the virus arrived in Ukraine, but that it had been detected in the country.
He said Ukraine had started the process of quarantine but had not yet identified the people who might be infected and said the virus was still “a big problem”.
Porososhenko, who has pledged to stay in power until May, made the comments after an economic forum that was attended by foreign ministers from around the world.
He was asked if the virus could be prevented by a US or European effort to control it.
“The situation is very complex.
It will be difficult to prevent the spread, but it’s possible that in the short term,” he said.
The US has already pledged $5.6bn to support the effort, which was announced last week.
Poroshenko, speaking at the forum, said he had spoken to US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and they had agreed on the need to stop Zika from spreading.
“We are working together and I am hoping that the United States will play a role in this, but there are also the countries of Europe, Japan and other countries,” he told the forum.
“It’s a great pity that the outbreak of Zika has taken a toll on the lives of people in the US, but in other countries it has also made a difference.”
“I will also tell you that I think that we can work together.
I think this will make a great difference.”
Porosenko said he was concerned that the virus might spread back into Ukraine and urged people to get tested and report any suspected cases.
He also said Ukraine needed the help of the European Community, which he said could offer support for countries that have not yet declared themselves Ebola-free.
The EU is not a party to the World Health Organisation’s current Ebola strategy, but has pledged $3bn to help Ukraine.
The European Commission said it was working with Ukraine to provide information on how to better protect the country from the virus and also to provide support for Ukraine’s efforts to reduce the number of cases and deaths.
The commission said in a statement that it was “encouraged” by the recent announcement by Poroshenko of an economic package worth $1.8bn and by the president’s call to take steps to help prevent the virus from spreading and that it would work with Ukraine’s healthcare system to develop measures to protect people.