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S. Korea to send medical team to Sierra Leone to help Ebola

South Korea said Sunday it will dispatch medical personnel to a British-led Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone to help West African countries that have been hit by the deadly disease.

A group made up of volunteering doctors, nurses and military officers will be stationed at the Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) under construction in the capital city of Freetown, the foreign ministry said.

South Korea previously had said it would send a medical team to Sierra Leone or Liberia to participate in the global efforts to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.

South Korea has so far pledged US$5.6 million to support the fight against the virus.

The ministry said 145 doctors and nurses applied to join the team. The final team members will be picked based on their level of expertise, and military health workers chosen by the defense ministry will be also be included on the team, according to the ministry.

"The personnel are expected to work at the ETC that is currently being set up by Britain," said a ministry official, adding that they are to have priority access to cases related to Ebola virus infections.

The ministry said it will send an advance team of 12 officials from the defense, foreign and health ministries to Sierra Leone from Nov. 13 to 21 to assess the situation in the country's capital.

The advance team will first travel to Britain to coordinate its trip to Africa, the ministry said, and discuss with its British counterparts the necessary safety measures for the medical personnel.

The United Nations has been appealing to the international community to support efforts to contain the deadly epidemic, which is estimated to have killed more than 4,500 people. (Yonhap)