Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus

An image of the coronavirus created by the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia

Nigeria’s Health Ministry has confirmed a novel coronavirus case in Lagos state.

“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.

This is the third confirmed case in Africa, after one apiece Egypt and Algeria, and the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in a statement also said: “the patient is clinically stable and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.”

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.

Lagos has a population of over 20 million people and is Nigeria’s economic capital.

Since its detection in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has claimed more than 2,700 lives and has infected over 80,000 people across almost 50 countries.

Nigeria was among thirteen priority countries in Africa identified as being at high risk of getting the virus because of their established links or frequent travel to and from China.

The others are Ghana, Algeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Before the recent cases, African countries were found to be at moderate to high risk of importation of the virus and considered to have a relatively low capacity to manage the health emergency.

Currently, 40 countries in Africa are able to test for the virus.

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