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Coronavirus hits Africa as Egypt confirms first case

Published by The Nation on Sat, 15 Feb 2020

Egypt on Friday confirmed a case of Coronavirus in its territory,the first in Africa since the deadly virus began ravaging China a few weeks back.But the sufferer is not Egyptian, the ministry of health said in Cairo.The ministry did not disclose the nationality of the person who is quarantined isolation in hospital.It merely said that it has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient who is stable.Cairo has already notified the World Health Organization.Three hundred and one Egyptians were evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the virus in China, and have remained in quarantine for 14 days.Meanwhile, Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, said yesterday that the level of preparedness was on the high gear with a view to stopping importation of Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the country.Ehanire told reporters at a briefing in Abuja on governments preparedness over Covid-19 that the Federal Government had continued to strengthen surveillance at four international airports in the country to prevent the importation of the virus.He added that the Ministry of Health was also in discussions with Chinese authorities and Nigerian Embassy in Beijing to guarantee the lives of Nigerians living in that country.He said he had met twice with the Chinese ambassador on the matter.Read Also:New cases of Coronavirus tested negativeFGHe said: He told me that there are 60 Nigerians in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak is prominent. No Nigerian is sick and the authority is providing them with food.The information is confirmed by Nigerian ambassador in Beijing and he too is taking care of Nigerians living in Wuhan.As far as the two fronts are concerned, we are on safe ground and we pray we continue to be on safe ground.The minister emphasized that the Federal Government had continued to strengthen surveillance at the Ikeja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja airports to prevent the virus from getting to Nigeria.He said that facilities were mounted in those airports to detect any passenger with high temperature for further testing, noting that the country had capacity to test the virus in three centres of Abuja; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Lagos; NCDC and Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo.We have enough reagents to test; Chinese ambassador said they have supplied 2,000 doses of reagents for Africa Centre for Disease Control so that any country in the continent can apply for it.China has also shared the protocol for treatment of the virus with us, since they have treated 4,000 cases, we asked them for the protocol and the ambassador brought it on Friday.We have sent it to NCDC and some hospitals where we have isolation centres; we have all these, and we will do all we can to make sure that Nigerians are safe.In addition, he said, the ministry had been working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the agency had been supportive with information and diagnostic tools, among others.Ehanire said that Nigeria was also in collaboration with health ministries in West Africa to strengthen its preparedness and action plan.According to him, no case of coronavirus has been reported in Nigeria.China on Friday reported 121 more deaths from the coronavirus, 116 of which from Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number of deaths across that country to 1,380.The latest toll reflected the removal of some deaths that had been double counted in Hubei, the health commission said on Thursday. Chinese health officials had already reported 1,367 deaths.More than 1,700 medical workers in China have been infected with the new coronavirus, and six have died, medical authorities have said.The vast majority of the medical workers1,502 out of 1,716have fallen ill in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, said Zeng Yixin, Deputy Director of the National Health Commission.It is the first time China is releasing an official count of infections among medical personnel during the Covid-19 outbreak.
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