Nigeria confirms COVID-19 case, first in sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria confirms COVID-19 case, first in sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria COVID-19 screening
A Port Health Service staff member stands next to a thermal scanner as passengers arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, on Jan 27, 2019. (Photo: AFP) 

LAGOS: Nigeria on Friday (Feb 28) announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.

"The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the Feb 25, 2020," Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.

READ: WHO sounds alarm over Africa's COVID-19 preparedness

"The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos."

Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa - in Egypt and in Algeria - a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent's close economic ties with China.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this week that African health systems were ill-equipped to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak should cases start to proliferate on the continent.

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Source: AFP/ad