How safe is Africa after France confirms first three cases of coronavirus in Europe
London, Jan. 25, 2020 (AltAfrica)- France confirmed on Friday its first three cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, with two patients being hospitalised in Paris and the other in the southwestern city of Bordeaux
Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told a news conference authorities had confirmed two cases, Europe’s first, and that more cases were likely to occur in France.
In a separate statement on Friday, the health ministry announced the third case, a relative of one of the first two.
Earlier, the charity SOS Medecins said it had treated one of the cases, a patient of Chinese origin who was showing symptoms of a fever and who said he had been in contact with people from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
Buzyn said the patient was 48 years old and had returned two days ago from a trip to China which included a stop in Wuhan
“He’s been put in an isolated room so as to avoid any contact with the outside world. He’s fine”, she said.
With the situation in France and by extension Europe, the question is how safe and prepare is Africa?
African countries with close business ties to China, are making moves to prepare for coronavirus infected passengers. In Lagos, Nigeria, screenings of passengers have already begun.
In light of the ongoing novel #coronavirusoutbreak in China, the @nicd_sa, has put in place systems to rapidly identify and detect any imported cases in South Africa. As from 23 January, there have been no cases of the 2019-nCoV in South Africa or on the African continent.— NICD (@nicd_sa) January 23, 2020
In South Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) have released a statement, confirming what they’ve done to prepare for any reported cases in South Africa. They have briefed the medical professionals on how to treat these patients, and reminded the public that no coronavirus cases have been discovered as of Thursday 23 January 2020
Meanwhile, Ghana has introduced an enhanced health screening procedure for passengers coming into the country, Minister for Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has announced.
In a statement, the minister said an alert had been sent to 16 regions on the disease, as well as guidance information on the disease.
The country has also enhanced surveillance at all of its entry points including the Kotoka International Airport.
“In addition, there is in-country capacity to diagnose the 2019-nCoV through laboratory testing of the appropriate samples by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research,” the statement assured.
The Ministry of Health has also alerted all medical facilities in the country to be prepared to manage cases, in case of an outbreak.
It also urged citizens and residents of Ghana to observe strict basic hygiene rules including washing of hands thoroughly with clean water and soap at the appropriate times.
Most of the cases and all of the deaths so far have been in China, where officials have imposed severe restrictions on travel and public gatherings.
The virus has created alarm, but there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can lead to pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.
The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the virus an “emergency in China”, but stopped short of declaring it a global health emergency.
Buzyn said the official advice to those suspecting they might have caught the virus was not to go to hospital – to avoid spreading it – but to call a special number where they would be told what to do.
The minister said she planned to hold daily news conferences on the issue
Reuters/News 24 France