The Youth Olympics would not be hosting three of the four Ebola-hit West African countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria), as they have withdrawn from the games, citing the fact that they would not like any of their athletes to spread it to other countries.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday had also banned three athletes from West Africa, from taking part in pool events and combat sports. This was done as a precautionary measure to ensure that the Ebola virus (if already contracted by the athletes in question) would not be spread to athletes from other countries.
The virus is a highly contagious disease that has killed 1,145 people and has been contracted by 2,127 others in West Africa, according to the latest reports by the US Centres for Disease Control.
Though Ebola is not an airborne disease, it is highly contagious. The virus could even be spread from a dead body. It is mainly transmitted through body fluids. Hence, the IOC decided to ban the West African athletes from the pool and the combat events.
"Two NOCs (Sierra Leone and Liberia) decided together with their government to not come here," Thomas Bach, President of the IOC was quoted saying, by Xinhua news agency of China, in Reuters. "We have to respect the decision of the government in such a difficult moment for their country. We also have been informed that the team of Nigeria wants to go home. Obviously the Nigerian government has decided to send them home."
"We feel sad for the athletes as it will be extremely difficult for them. They already felt the excitement of living in the village and now they have to leave - that's a very difficult task," said Bach.
An anonymous official of the Youth Olympics Organising Committee was also quoted by Xinhua, saying that they were "appreciative and grateful" that the three nations decided to withdraw from the tournament.
Apart from the Ebola virus, the organisers of the Nanjing youth Olympics 2014 are also worried about the weather affecting the international event.
"There is the possibility the city could face frequent rainy days, electrical storms and occasional occurrences of haze and possibly typhoons," said the Meteorological Services Command Centre of Nanjing.