|Dino Lirios |||Aug 16, 2014 09:22 PM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters)
Team USA's planned visit to Senegal for the upcoming FIBA World Cup later this month has been canceled due to the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
The men's team, stocked with NBA stars and led by coach Mike Krzyzewski, was scheduled to visit Africa for the first time for a series of clinics, tours, and other activities in the capital of Dakar.
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"I speak for all at USA Basketball when I say we're extremely disappointed we will not be able to visit Senegal," USA Basketball chair Jerry Colangelo said. "Our entire traveling party was very much looking forward to the experience."
While Senegal has had no reports of possible Ebola outbreaks, its border near Guinea and Dakar's role as gateway to West Africa heightened concerns, Colangelo explained.
Previously, the World Health Organization released a warning, stating that the scale of the epidemic had been greatly underestimated and that "extraordinary measures" were needed to contain the killer disease.
The UN health agency released statistics concerning the Ebola virus, with the death toll having climbed to 1,145 in four decades. These figures covered deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
The New York Times recently reported that the State Department ordered family members of staffers in the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone capital of Freetown to leave the country.
The measure was taken out of an abundance of caution, said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
"We will look for opportunities in the future to work with and support the Senegalese national team," said Colangelo.
Team USA is currently staying in Chicago for three days. Afterwards, they are scheduled to begin preparations in New York, with a practice session at the U.S. Military Academy's Christl Arena at West Point.
Team USA will open the FIBA World Cup with a game against Finland, which will be played in Spain on Aug. 30. The 24-team tournament will run until Sept. 14, with the winner qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.
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