Last Updated on February 28, 2020

First Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Nigeria

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Amidst stock market losses around the world deepened with investor alarm over a potential global pandemic, Nigeria has reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus epidemic.

The case was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and had returned from Italy to Lagos on 25 February. Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire said: “The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos”.

The case is just the third to be confirmed on the African continent, something that has puzzled health specialists given its close ties China.

Earlier this month, officials at the World Health Organization warned that porous borders, a continuing flow of travellers and poorly resourced healthcare systems meant the risk of an outbreak across Africa was “very very high”. The WHO also raised significant concerns about the ability of fragile health systems to cope.

Recent weeks have been used to reinforce testing regimes, isolation facilities and for public messaging too.

According to Folasade Ogunsola a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Lagos “Nigeria has dramatically improved its ability to manage the outbreak of a major pandemic since the Ebola scare in west Africa in 2014”.

Related: Coronavirus – First Suspected Case in an African Country

There is anxiety in many countries despite reinforced protective measures. In Kenya, there has been a backlash against authorities who allowed the first direct flight from China in two weeks.

Latest Updates on the Coronavirus

Here are the latest developments of the coronavirus.

  • Officials confirmed 20 new cases in France in the past 24 hours, after President Emmanuel Macron warned on Thursday that the country was on the brink of an epidemic.
  • In Italy, the death toll rose to 17.
  • About 1,000 people were in quarantine in Germany’s most populous state, as the number of confirmed cases in Europe’s biggest economy rose above 50.
  • Lithuania and New Zealand reported their first confirmed cases.
  • The first case was confirmed in Wales, taking the total in the UK to 19.
  • China recorded 44 new deaths and 327 new confirmed cases, as the spread of the virus continues to slow inside the country.
  • South Korea announced 571 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 2,337, by far the largest outside China.
  • Californian health officials said they were monitoring 8,400 people for symptoms after their arrival on domestic flights.
  • Australian doctors warned the public health system could be overwhelmed in the event of a pandemic, a day after the government launched its emergency response programme.

Egypt had the first case of Covid-19 in Africa, announced on 14 February. Algeria declared it had a case on Tuesday, an Italian adult who arrived in the country on 17 February. That prompted the WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, to warn that the “window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing”.

On Thursday the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the epidemic was at a decisive point globally and that it could get out of control if affected countries did not move swiftly to contain it.

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