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(LEAD) Seoul to send advance team to Ebola-hit Africa in early Nov.

All Headlines 16:28 October 20, 2014

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more info from paras 2-4)

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to send an advance team of government officials to Ebola-hit West African countries in early November in an effort to support global efforts to fight the deadly virus, government officials said Monday.

A group of six or seven officials from the foreign, health and defense ministries will visit Sierra Leone and Liberia early next month to assess the situation in the affected countries, according to the Seoul government.

Following the advance team, Seoul plans to send a group of volunteer medical workers to the countries, they added.

The plan comes after the foreign ministry, the health ministry and others held a meeting earlier in the day to discuss details of the dispatch of medical personnel to Ebola-stricken West African countries.

Last week, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said that Seoul plans to send a group of medical workers to West African countries in a bid to lend support to the global efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The decision came as the United Nations has been appealing for the international community to further support the efforts to contain the deadly epidemic, which is estimated to have killed more than 4,500 people.

Seoul is considering sending medical workers as a form of the disaster relief team that has been mainly dispatched to overseas areas hit by natural disasters.

Amid growing concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus, U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a "faster and more robust international response to the Ebola epidemic."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on the international community to chip in money to a trust fund that he launched to raise $1 billion to meet a pre-set target of cutting the transmission rate by Dec. 1.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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