Mali is now free of Ebola, declared the country's health minister following 42 days of no new cases.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone said no new cases were registered since 6 December when the last Ebola-infected patient in the country recovered and left hospital, reports AFP.

"I declare this day... the end of the epidemic of the Ebola virus in Mali," he said in a statement broadcast on state television ORTM.

The country has now "come out" of the epidemic, said Ibrahima Soce Fall, country head, United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UMEER).

Mali recorded its first case of Ebola in October, when a two-year-old from Guinea died from the disease.

Seven people lost their lives to Ebola in Mali.

The latest figures of new cases show a decline of the outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Sierra Leone and Guinea both recorded the lowest weekly total of confirmed Ebola cases since August, according to UN figures.

Liberia, which reported no new cases on two days last week, had its lowest weekly total since June.

The overall death toll has reached 8,429 with 21,296 cases so far.