World Bulletin/News Desk
Uganda has agreed to host the national football squad of Ebola-ravaged Guinea for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, albeit under strict conditions.
"Uganda will on Wednesday September 10 be competing against Guinea in Group 4 of the African Qualifier games in Namboole National Stadium in Kampala," Health Minister Ruhukana Rugunda said in a statement on Sunday.
"The World Health Organisation does not recommend any ban on international travel or trade, in accordance with the advice from the WHO Ebola Emergency Committee since the risk of transmission during air travel is low," he noted.
But the minister insisted that the risks of importing Ebola into Uganda "cannot be ignored."
So the ministry has, in consultation with the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Federation of the Uganda Football Association (FUFA) and the Office of the Prime Minister, put up several conditions.
The Guinean delegation has been restricted to only 25 members, including players, coaches and support staff.
No fans will be allowed to accompany the players into Uganda.
The team should be screened before boarding the plane en route to Uganda.
Guinea was asked to provide all the players' names and areas of origin.
"This was done to ascertain that none of the players was from the affected areas or had been in contact with anyone affected with Ebola," said Minister Rugunda.
The ministry also insists that once in Uganda "the players will stay in one comfortable hotel where all their requirements will be met."
Visas given to the delegation is limited to only five days and the team is expected to leave Uganda immediately after the match.
During the period of their stay, Rugunda said Ugandan surveillance teams "will have access to them for purposes of monitoring and counselling."
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has claimed 2,105 lives in West Africa up to September 5.
Guinea has recoded 517 Ebola deaths - probable, confirmed and suspected – during that period.
Uganda has not had any confirmed cases of Ebola since the last outbreak in November 2012.
However, the Health Ministry has been on alert and all suspected cases reported earlier had been investigated and tested negative for any viral hemorrhagic fever.
Surveillance officers in all districts, especially those along the borders, have been put on alert to register all cases with a previous history of being in any of the Ebola affected countries.
The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.
The WHO describes Ebola as "one of the most virulent" viruses in the world.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2014, 14:24