- “Clinical trials were conducted on suspected cases that tested positive for the virus without any symptoms of the disease.”
- Not a single case has yet been confirmed in ECOWAS, but health system deficiencies in Africa are worrying about the consequences that may result from the virus.
- The death toll is currently 1,519 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) since the start of the epidemic.
The coronavirus, called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization, is now present on all continents. The number of victims of the epidemic of the new coronavirus on Saturday exceeded 1,500 in China, and the first case of infection in Africa was recorded in Egypt. It was the Egyptian Ministry of Health that announced on Friday that it had registered the first case of the disease on the African continent.
A carrier that is not Egyptian has been quarantined. “Clinical trials were conducted on suspected cases that tested positive for the virus without any symptoms of the disease,” said Khaled Megahed, a spokesman for the ministry. People who have been in contact with the patient will be isolated for two weeks at home as a precaution, he added. “The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient . . . who is stable,” said Megahed.
What do we Know
Officials were able to confirm this case thanks to a program developed by the government for travelers from countries where the virus spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the patient is in a stable condition. A ministry press release states that the person was hospitalized and isolated. He did not indicate the nationality of the patient or his point of entry.
Egypt is on the warpath, especially because its population has exceeded 100 million people, making it the most populous country in the Arab world. Authorities have designated al-Negail Central Hospital in Matra in the west to quarantine the returnees from China, many of whom are students.
In early February, Egypt suspended flights of its national airline, EgyptAir, with China. About 300 Egyptians were evacuated in February from Wuhan, the epicenter of disease caused by Coronavirus, and were quarantined for 14 days.
West African States Mobilized
This first confirmed case in Egypt worries African experts and leaders. On Friday in Bamako, West African health ministers decided to strengthen collaboration between their countries in the fight against the new coronavirus. In ECOWAS, not a single case has yet been confirmed, but health system deficiencies in Africa are worrying about the consequences that may result from the virus.
“Today we have no proven cases in the field of ECOWAS. But with 380 million people in our subregion, we don’t even have three laboratories that could do business efficiently,” said Mali’s Minister Michel Hamala Sidibe after the meeting. During the meeting, it was decided to “strengthen cross-border coordination,” as well as vigilance against travelers from China, he said without further details. ECOWAS expressed “its solidarity with China.” He said “we will be in constant contact with this friendly country to monitor the situation.”
Death Toll in China Exceeded 1,500 People
On Saturday, the number of coronavirus deaths increased again. The death toll is currently 1,519 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) since the start of the epidemic. Chinese authorities report nearly 66,000 cases of infection, including at least 1,716 among doctors and nurses who work with patients. In addition, the National Health Commission of China, which acts as a ministry, has announced that six health workers have died.
The Health Commission of Hubei Province, the province where the outbreak is located, announced on Saturday that an additional 139 people had died in the province over the past 24 hours and that 2,420 new infections have occurred.