The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after a Congolese national who had recently returned to Kinshasha from France, tested positive for the virus.
DRC’s Minister of health, Eteni Longondo, said the patient, a 52-year-old is in a stable state.
Although the minister failed to confirm the date of his arrival into Kinshasa, he said the patient showed no symptoms upon arrival.
“He arrived a few days ago from Belgium. I cannot confirm the day. I was in contact with the border health services. When he got there, he had no symptoms,” the minister said.
The National Institute of Biomedical Research confirmed the first case in DRC.
The Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO), said “it’s sad to hear that just as the DRC appears to be near ending its worse Ebola outbreak, a new virus is threatening the health of its citizens.”
However, he commented that “some of the readiness efforts put in place during the Ebola outbreak may help the country respond to COVID-19.”
Mr Moeti further reassured DRC of WHO’s support.
Cases within Africa
The new cases in South Africa are from the same group of people who travelled to northern Italy earlier in March, the group of ten before being confirmed were already under self-isolation.
Most of the cases in Egypt, according to Ahram Online “were found among passengers and crew members aboard a Nile cruise ship coming from southern Egyptian city of Aswan to Luxor.”
There are a total of 11 countries with confirmed cases of the virus. They are Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Egypt has the highest number of cases with 59, followed by Algeria with 19.
Nigeria has two reported cases, Tunisia five, Senegal four, Morocco three, South Africa 13, Cameroon two, Togo One, Burkina Faso two, and DRC one, among others.
A total of 111 confirmed cases have been reported in the continent and two reported deaths in Egypt and Morocco.
The spread of the virus has led to air travel restrictions and cancellations of high-level conferences across the continent.
Uganda, on Monday, placed a ban on visitors travelling from seven countries that are “highly-hit” by the virus.
The countries are Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, and Spain.
Uganda’s minister of health, Jane Aceng, said “Government has decided to ask travellers from the affected countries not to come to Uganda because the high cases they are reporting can easily be imported into the country.”
She added that those insisting to visit Uganda from the list of countries provided would have to “self-isolate at their own cost for 14 days wither in their home or at a government facility.”
High-level conferences such as the 2020 United Nations G77 and China Summit scheduled for mid-April have been postponed due to fears on the virus, Ms Aceng said.
CNN reports that more than 6,000 delegates from 136 member states were expected to attend.
Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, and Royal Air Maroc have suspended flights to China.
Ethiopian Airlines, however, reiterated their commitment to China being “one of the strongest and oldest markets” for them, and will, therefore, continue operating flights to China, while “adhering to international standards to ensure the safety of their passengers.”
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