Channel NewsAsia

Basketball: USA cancel Senegal trip over Ebola fears

USA Basketball has cancelled the team's trip to Senegal because of concerns over the deadly Ebola outbreak, federation chairman Jerry Colangelo said Friday (Aug 15).

LOS ANGELES: USA Basketball has cancelled the team's trip to Senegal because of concerns over the deadly Ebola outbreak, federation chairman Jerry Colangelo said Friday (Aug 15).

The men's team, stocked with NBA stars, had been scheduled to visit Africa for the first time on August 27, with a day of basketball clinics, tours and other functions planned in the capital Dakar. Although Senegal is not one of the countries so far afflicted in West Africa, Colangelo said its position bordering Guinea and Dakar's role as a gateway to West Africa heightened concerns.

"Considering this unprecedented outbreak, USA Basketball has decided to cancel our August 27 scheduled visit to Senegal," Colangelo said. "I speak for everyone at USA Basketball when I say we are extremely disappointed that we will not be able to visit Senegal. We will look for opportunities in the future to work with and support the Senegalese national team."

Medical charity MSF said Friday the Ebola epidemic is moving faster than authorities can handle and could take six months to bring under control. The warning came a day after the World Health Organization said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated and that "extraordinary measures" were needed to contain the killer disease.

The UN health agency said the death toll from the worst outbreak of Ebola in four decades had now climbed to 1,145 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The US team's stop in Dakar was to follow an exhibition game against Slovenia on August 26 on Spain's Gran Canaria island. The United States open their FIBA World Cup campaign against Finland in Bilbao, Spain, on August 30. The FIBA World Cup - formerly the World Championships - will take place August 30 to September 14.