THE first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa has been confirmed in Nigeria.
The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial city of Lagos from Milan on 25 February.
The patient was screened when he arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Tuesday and did not show any symptoms of the virus, according to Nigerian health authorities.
They have obtained the passenger manifest from the airline and started tracking people who had contact with the patient, Health Minister Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire said.
Ehanire added that there was no need for alarm as Nigeria was well prepared to deal with the disease, adding that the country had four laboratories where patients can be tested.
Authorities say he is stable with no serious symptoms and is being treated at a hospital in the city.
At least 60 doctors have been deployed to Lagos’s main airport to support the ongoing screening effort.
Globally, more than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected. Nearly 2,800 have died, the vast majority in China’s Hubei province.
Elsewhere on the continent, Algeria and Egypt have also confirmed cases of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had warned that Africa’s “fragile health systems” meant the threat posed by the virus was “considerable”.