The first suspected case of coronavirus in Africa has been reported in Cote d’Ivoire.
Health personnel are carrying out further tests in the West African country on an unnamed student who returned from Beijing on Saturday.
The student who had lived in China for the past five years, is recorded to be the first person to be tested for the virus. At least 80 people according to CNN have been killed in Wuhan, China.
According to a statement issued by the Ivorian Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, while on transit from Beijing to the Felix-Houphouet-Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, the 34-year old student displayed symptoms of the virus – coughing, sneezing, and experiencing difficulty in breathing.
Upon arrival at the airport, the student was immediately moved “to a safe location and is currently under medical observation,” the ministry said.
Despite the symptoms being very similar to that of coronavirus, authorities believe that “it is highly case of pneumonia and not coronavirus.”
Nonetheless, the ministry added that the final diagnosis will be made after the test results had been analysed.
WHO Africa emergency response programme manager, Michel Yao, has advised health ministers in the African region to “activate standard flu screening at airports for passengers coming from mainland China.”
CNN further reported that residents should not panic, rather, they should maintain proper hygiene and “visit the closest health centre in case of fever, cough, or breathing difficulties.”
More than 2700 coronavirus cases have been confirmed.
It is advised that countries around the world should improve upon their surveillance and screening at airports, “especially for travellers arriving from Wuhan in China.”
Coronavirus’ first outbreak was recorded in Wuhan, China, in December.
As of Friday, PREMIUM TIMES reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) decided that “the outbreak is yet to attain the status of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” despite warning that there is an emergency in China.”
Following the outbreak, Nigeria has placed its port health service units on alert.