Senegal confirms second coronavirus infection case in sub-Saharan Africa
London, March 2, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Senegal has reported its first confirmed case of of the new coronavirus, becoming the second country in sub-Saharan Africa with a case after Nigeria
Senegal’s Minister of Health Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr announced the case Monday.
The patient is a French national who resides in Senegal and who had been on holiday in Nimes, France, and at a ski resort in the Alps, before returning to Senegal.
He arrived in Senegal on Feb. 26, and was placed in quarantine at the Fann Hospital in Dakar after presenting symptoms.
“The results of the tests carried out by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar have been positive,” said Sarr, adding that he is doing well. He is married and a father of two and his family is being monitored.
He arrived in Senegal on an Air Senegal flight from Paris. There are three other suspected cases, authorities said. All others who were on the flight are also being monitored.
President Macky Sall called for calm. He reassured Senegal that authorities are ready to face the disease.
“The health services are treating the patient in accordance with the procedures recommended by the World Health Organization. I call for calm and serenity,” he said Monday.
“Today we have complete confidence in the health services and the health workforce, who have proven in the past and continue to demonstrate their know-how. They remained mobilized in the prevention, response and monitoring of the epidemic,” Sall said.
The government also announced that a delegation of Senegalese who had returned from attending the Paris International Agricultural Show, was under observation.
Across Africa, steps are being taken to prepare for — and to reduce the effects of — the spread of the new coronavirus. Testing laboratories are being supplied, quarantine and hospital treatment facilities are being readied for patients, and public health advisories have been issued.
As of Monday, the continent of 1.2 billion people has just six confirmed cases of COVID-19 — three in Algeria, two in Egypt and one in Nigeria. But 13 of Africa’s 54 countries have been identified by the World Health Organization as at risk of becoming centers for the disease on the basis of volume of traffic between China and weak health surveillance and treatment systems.
Nigeria on Friday became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to report a confirmed case when an Italian citizen traveling from Milan on a business trip fell ill after arriving at Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city with 20 million people.
With the case in Nigeria, concern has grown over the virus spreading to countries with weaker health systems. WHO officials in Africa, where some countries are already battling outbreaks ranging from Ebola, to malaria and measles, have warned that the continent’s health systems could be overwhelmed.
The new virus, first detected in China, has infected more than 89,000 people globally and caused over 3,000 deaths.