Egypt confirms first COVID-19 case in Africa

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 15 2020 05:58 AM

CAIRO - Egypt's health ministry on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in Africa.

The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality. 

"The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient... who is stable," said health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed.

Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organization and the patient been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital.

The death toll from the epidemic virus has neared 1,400 cases, almost exclusively in China where it was first identified.

Deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems have raised concerns about the capacity of African countries to respond to an outbreak.

Earlier this month, Egypt suspended all flights on its national carrier to China. They will remain grounded until the end of the month.

Three hundred and one Egyptians were evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus in China, and have remained in quarantine for 14 days.