S. Korea to send gov’t officials to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone

November 6, 2014

Personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat Ebola patients are being displayed in South Korea. (NEWSis)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea will send government officials to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone, joining global efforts to defeat the fatal virus, the defense ministry said Thursday.

The ministry said it will send an advance team of 11 officials from the defense, foreign and health ministries to Sierra Leone from Nov. 13 to 21, and that they will be joined by their counterparts from Britain.

The South Korean team will first travel to Britain to coordinate their trip to Africa, the defense ministry added. Seoul has pledged US$5.6 million in aid to contain the spread of the virus, which is estimated to have killed nearly 5,000 people.

The defense ministry made the announcement through a press release on a phone conversation between Baek Seung-joo, Seoul’s vice defense minister, and John Astor, a parliamentary undersecretary of state at the British defense ministry.

“Undersecretary Astor expressed his deep gratitude for our government’s decision to send officials to help eradicate Ebola,” the South Korean defense ministry said in a statement. “He also pledged to provide support for our personnel in emergencies.”

Britain has sent 750 military personnel and about 10 health workers to Sierra Leone.