The first reported case of a novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria Friday. The case is an Italian citizen working in Nigeria and returning from Milan earlier this week, health minister Osagie Ehanire said on Twitter in a statement.
Over recent days, Italy is becoming a hotbed of infection with Europe’s biggest outbreak. Yet Africa’s small number of cases, which has strong economic ties to China, the epicentre of the deadly epidemic, have baffled health experts. There had been only two incidents across the continent prior to the event in Nigeria— in Egypt and Algeria.
Previously this week, the World Health Organization caution that African health systems poorly-equip to react to cases on the continent start to proliferate. But, Ehanire state that the government works to ensure that an outbreak “controls and quickly contain.”
The epidemic, which began in December, has also killed more than 2,800 people in China and infected more than 78,000. Leader of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that spreading the virus to countries with poorer health systems was “our main concern.”
Several African carriers like Kenya Airways have halted flights to China. This is even though Ethiopian Airlines, the continent’s largest airline, has kept its China routes open.
Apart from this, South Korea also confirmed 256 new cases of coronavirus on Friday. It takes its total to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. It is the highest in the world outside of China. More than 90% of the new cases were in Daegu. The city at the epicentre of South Korea’s outbreak and the neighbouring province of North Gyeongsang, it said. This is without further deaths maintaining the toll at 13.