Sport

Chinese health authorities ready for Ebola outbreak

From DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO in Nanjing, China
THE Chinese health authorities are prepared to combat the possible outbreak of Ebola at the ongoing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
And International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has sympathised with athletes from Ebola-affected countries.
Meanwhile, Liberia and Sierra Leone have pulled out of the games while Guinea will have limited involvement with Nigeria’s participation still remaining a mystery.
According to a joint communique released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Nanjing Olympic Youth Games Organising Committee, the Chinese health authorities have put measures in place to combat any possible outbreak of the disease.
All athletes from Ebola-affected countries are thoroughly screened.
“Our thoughts are firstly with those who have been touched by the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the suffering of those affected. With regard to ensuring the safety of all those participating in the Youth Olympic Games and the people of the city of Nanjing, we have been working closely with the Chinese health authorities and under the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We have been reassured by the health authorities that there have been no suspected cases and that the risk of infection is extremely unlikely,” the communique read.
The communique said a policy which balances the health needs of all has been developed.
The organising committee has made it clear that all delegations are welcome and each country is free to take their own decision on attendance although they will be subjected to regular temperature and physical assessment throughout the period of the games.
However, athletes from affected countries have been barred from competing in combat sports.
“Additionally, based on the inability to completely exclude the risk of potential infection, it was also decided that no athletes from the region would compete in the pool.
We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the communique read.
The athletes who will not be able to participate will in future receive an invitation from the IOC and the organising committee to visit Nanjing to compete in a sporting competition and to experience the welcoming atmosphere and spirit of the city and Jiangsu Province.
Bach, who addressed the issue during the tour of the Games Village on Saturday, said the IOC’s thoughts are with the people affected by the disease.
More than a 1,000 people have died in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria from Ebola.
Two judokas and a swimmer from Guinea have been barred while a Nigerian wrestler has withdrawn.
Over 4,000 athletes are competing in Nanjing.

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