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Nigeria confirms first coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa

By Hilary Kimuyu February 28th, 2020 1 min read

Nigeria’s health ministry on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa as infections continue to spread rapidly worldwide.

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

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

However, Ehanire said the government had been working to ensure an outbreak is “controlled and contained quickly”.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that … we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China,” he said.

“We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he entered Nigeria.”

Prior to the case in Nigeria, there had been just two cases across the continent — in Egypt and Algeria.

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