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Ivory Coast to host African Nations Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast will host their African Nations Cup qualifier against Ebola-affected Sierra Leone this weekend following a special meeting of the country’s national security council.

The decision, announced in a government statement published in local media on Tuesday, comes one week after the government said it would not allow the match to go ahead, citing concerns over a possible Ebola outbreak.

As of Aug. 29, the World Health Organization had confirmed 935 cases of the deadly virus in Sierra Leone including 380 deaths.

In response to the spiraling health crisis in West Africa, Ivory Coast last month banned air travelers and all incoming flights from Sierra Leone as well as its affected neighbours Liberia and Guinea.

The announcement follows reassurances delivered by the Sierra Leonean Football Association that none of the 20 players or four staff members in its entourage has visited Sierra Leone in the last 21 days, the incubation period for Ebola.

Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those infected though the fatality rate in the current epidemic is just over 50 percent.

The communiqué also noted that an expert from the Confederation of African Football would oversee medical procedures put in place to guard against the virus’ spread.

The match will be held on Saturday in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan- Reuters

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