Egypt Confirms Africa’s First Coronavirus Case

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
coronavirus Africa's first coronavirus case
Africa’s first coronavirus case is a Chinese tourist in Egypt showing no serious symptoms. He is being treated while in hospital isolation. Passengers arriving on a China Southern Airlines flight from Changsha in China are screened for the new type of coronavirus, whose symptoms are similar to the cold or flu and many other illnesses, upon their arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Image: AP Photo/Patrick Ngugi

Africa has its first confirmed case of coronavirus after a person in Egypt tested positive for the disease.

The infected individual is a Chinese national visiting Egyptian and he has been kept in hospital isolation since his confirmed diagnosis on Feb. 14, according to Egypt’s health ministry.

The Egyptian case is the first confirmed instance of the coronavirus infection in Africa following the initial outbreak in December in the city of Wuhan, China.

The coronavirus has spread rapidly since the end of 2019. There are now more than 70,000 confirmed cases and in excess of 1,770 deaths in China as a result of the airborne virus.

It has since spread to 24 countries outside of China including the U.S., Japan, France, the U.K., and Australia.

Egyptian health ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed said in a statement that the infected person did not show any serious symptoms and all those who came into contact with him tested negative for the deadly virus but will be monitored for two weeks, AlJazeera reported.

Health officials were able to confirm Africa’s first coronavirus case through a program implemented by the government involving follow-up visits with travelers arriving from countries where the virus has spread.

The World Health Organization has warned that the virus poses a “grave threat” to the world.

At the beginning of February, Egypt evacuated 301 Egyptians from Wuhan and suspended all flights on its national carrier to China, according to France24. All of the Egyptians evacuated from Wuhan have been released after 14 days in quarantine.

Some African countries have introduced measures to prevent an outbreak of the virus in Africa.

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Global health officials and researchers are concerned that coronavirus cases might be going undetected in some countries that are considered at high risk of an outbreak but are reporting fewer cases than expected, or none at all, according to VOA.

Experts are particularly concerned about countries with weaker healthcare systems in southeast Asia and Africa, which they say could quickly be overwhelmed by a local outbreak.