Ebola Flare Up May Cancel Liberia’s Olympics Invitation

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The recurrence of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country could cause a glitch for the government not to send athletes to the Brazil Olympics.

On Friday, the third flare-up was reported when a five-year-old boy, son of the woman who died last Thursday from the disease was confirmed positive with the virus.

This obviously means that if Liberia is not declared free of the transmission by July, Liberia will be denied participation in Brazil.

In 2014, Africans around the world – even those outside West Africa’s most affected countries, felt the brunt of Ebola, when China denied them entry into the country.

Meanwhile, according to a Reuters report, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has already communicated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports – before the reoccurrence of the virus – and complained about the lack of cash and fear over the Zikar virus outbreak in Brazil.

The Finance’s letter, dated March 21 was addressed to Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton, Jr relating to a request for the approval of $151,882 to send Liberian delegation to the Brazil Olympics Games.

“Given the current fiscal position of the Government … we are (unable) to grant this request at this time,” read the letter, obtained by Reuters and authenticated by a sports ministry official.

“It is important to note that Brazil is currently battling the Zika epidemic … and given our recent experience with Ebola, it will be public health risk to send (athletes) to that part of the world,” it said.

Philipbert Brown, president of Liberia’s Olympic committee, said he had not yet seen the letter.

The Zika virus is believed to be linked to an explosion in cases of microcephaly among infants in Brazil. The government says 1.5 million people may have been infected nationwide.

The United States-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women against travel to the summer games but the World Health Organization said the outbreak should neither affect international travel nor bar a successful Olympics.

The Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC) submitted US$151,000 budget to the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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