African musicians arrive in Korea amid Ebola scare

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 5, 2014 - 20:51
  • Updated : Aug 5, 2014 - 20:51
Dozens of African choral musicians have arrived in South Korea to participate in an international choir festival, organizers said Tuesday, amid concerns over an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

The virus, which is spreading quickly in West African countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, has claimed more than 880 lives since February, according to the World Health Organization. It has no known cure and the deadliest kind can kill up to 90 percent of those infected.

The 41 participants, who arrived in Seoul on Friday for the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music, come from Congo, South Africa and several West African countries, but none are from countries affected by the outbreak, according to the organizers.

“These participants don’t come from the Ebola-affected countries,” said an official at the Korean Federation for Choral Music. “We plan to push ahead with the event because they are not infected with the virus.”

The 38 members and staff of an African choir and three individual participants arrived at Incheon International Airport and underwent quarantine checks for two to three hours, which is stricter than normal, organizers said.

No cases of Ebola have been reported in South Korea, and the government said Monday it will toughen quarantine checks on those who enter the country to prevent the possible entry of the deadly virus.

A university in Seoul earlier rejected the participation of three Nigerian students who had planned to attend an international event at the school.

The festival and symposium, organized by the International Federation of Choral Music, takes place every three years in one of the member’s countries. This year’s edition is set to be held at Seoul’s National Theater of Korea and the Seoul Art Center from Aug. 6-13, featuring about a thousand musicians and 26 choirs representing 19 countries. (Yonhap)