WHO Staff Threaten Afcon Boycott Over Crowd Trouble

A section of World Health Organisation (WHO) workers at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Equatorial Guinea have sought to stay away from the Ebola screening exercise because of protests outside match venues.

The WHO staff operate from outside of the stadium carrying out screening exercise, which involves taking fans’ temperatures and giving supporters sanitising gel as they make their ways into the stadium.

On Wednesday, Supporters who tried to force their way into the stadium without tickets in Bata ahead of the Group A games threw bottles and Stones.

The WHO medical personels complain their safety has been at risk owing to crowd troubles.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) said such clashes at match venues are “small issues,” caused by fans arriving very close to kickoff.

The Police are employed at match venues to tackle crowd violence and had to push supporters back using batons and cattle prods during the Cote d’Ivoire vs. Guinea game on Tuesday, while WHO staff were forced inside the stadium as fans surged towards the gates to try and get in, according to the BBC World Service’s Alex South.

South also claimed that the French delegation of the WHO in Malabo have decided not to report back to the stadium on Saturday to carry out Ebola screening, following their meeting on Thursday to discuss safety.

Ebola Screening by World Health Organisation Staff. Image: WHO.
Ebola Screening by World Health Organisation Staff. Image: WHO.

However, the other two WHO teams- one from Egypt and the other from the host nation- are yet to decide on whether they will attend matches and carry on with screening.

Equatorial Guinea are hosting the finals after Morocco called for postponement of the showpiece because of the possible spread of the disease; a request which Caf rejected in November.


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