Senegal confirms first coronavirus case - health ministry


A view of the Pasteur Institute building in Dakar, Senegal March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Christophe Van Der Perre

DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegal's health minister on Monday announced the first case of coronavirus in the country, the second case in sub-Saharan Africa after one was confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has increased fears of a pandemic, prompting governments to step up control measures and sending global financial markets into a dive.

The patient is a French man who lives in Senegal and came back from a skiing holiday in France on Feb. 26 on an Air Senegal flight, Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr told reporters.

He passed a temperature check at the capital Dakar's main airport on his return but developed a fever two days later and went to a private clinic for a check-up, the minister said. That clinic alerted the authorities who have quarantined him in Dakar's Fann Hospital.

The patient had been in contact with his wife and two children, the minister said. It was not clear how many other people had also been in contact with him. Authorities are in the process of tracing the other passengers on the Air Senegal flight.

Fann Hospital was not reachable for comment.

As of Monday, there have been over 89,000 cases of the virus globally, the majority in China, according to a Reuters tally. Outside of China, it has spread to 66 countries, with more than 8,800 cases and 130 deaths. Globally, the illness has killed over 3,000 people.

North African countries Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt have also confirmed cases of the virus.

The risk of a global spread and impact of the coronavirus is now "very high", the highest level of alarm, but containment is still possible, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Africa’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says it has activated its emergency operation centre for a continent where healthcare capacity is limited and early detection is vital.

The WHO has identified 13 top-priority countries which either have direct links or a high volume of travel to China, but Senegal was not on that list.

Still, Senegal is home to one of the 26 labs in Africa that can test for the virus. Public announcements on state television advise people to wash their hands and masked health officials conduct temperature checks at the airport while others film arriving passengers.

Before the confirmation of the first case, President Macky Sall on Monday urged calm.

"The health services are taking care of the patient according to the procedure recommended by the World Health Organization," he told reporters.

(Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Aaron Ross and Jonathan Oatis)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In World

New Zealand's Ardern set to declare climate emergency
Cyclone Nivar tears down power lines, trees in India; no casualties
New Delhi's poisonous air a perennial crisis of its own making
South Korea military suspends all leave until December 7 on virus caution
South Korea reports biggest COVID-19 spike since March
South Korea sentences leader of sexual blackmail ring to 40 years in prison - Yonhap
Lights, camera, sell: Retailers want you to watch and shop
Black Friday ‘deals’: How sellers try to trick you into buying things
Sudan's former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi dies from coronavirus in UAE
Biden considering former Obama national security adviser Donilon for CIA - source

Stories You'll Enjoy