Algeria has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, becoming the second African country after Egypt with a confirmed case of the disease.
Algerian health minister Abdel Rahman Ben Bouzid said on state television that the patient was an Italian man who had arrived in the country on February 17.
The man has been quarantined for treatment and monitoring, the minister said.
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Egypt confirmed the first recorded case of coronavirus in Africa on February 15.
Authorities in Egypt said the patient was not from the country, even though they did not state where the patient was from. The patient, who did not show any symptoms of being ill, was quarantined. It was later announced that the patient had been cleared of the infection and was on the way to recovery.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID_19, began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since been spreading fast across the world. New cases have been reported in the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world.
In Algeria, its coronavirus case is coming from Italy where 11 people have died from the virus. According to Aljazeera, the virus has now infected more than 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.
Recently, African airlines including Kenyan Airways, RwandAir, and Air Madagascar suspended trips to China in the wake of the growing concerns around the threat posed by the virus.
Africa has large populations of students spread across China. Many more also go to China from Africa for purposes of trade. Concerns are being raised about Africa’s capacity to deal with the issues on the magnitude of what the coronavirus seems to be shaping up to be.
The continent’s management of Ebola outbreaks can serve as a testament.
What was seen with Ebola in the last five years exposed the lack of logistics and personnel, administrative deficiencies as well as the poverty of information and resources for citizens.
These problems are endemic to the continent and that only means fears of the harm the coronavirus might unleash are not misplaced.
So far, individual countries are taking precautions. There is not much in the way of continental coordination in monitoring the movements of individuals.