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Egypt confirms first coronavirus case in Africa Open in fullscreen

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Egypt confirms first coronavirus case in Africa

Egypt’s Quarantine Authority scans body temperature of flight attendants at Cairo International Airport [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 February, 2020

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Egypt’s health ministry has said a ‘foreigner’ has been placed in quarantine after being confirmed to be carrying the coronavirus, the first official diagnosis of the virus in Africa.

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Egypt's health ministry on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa.

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed said the person was a “foreigner" who is carrying the virus but not showing any serious symptoms. 

However Mugahed did not specify their nationality.

Officials were able to confirm the case through a follow-up programme the government implemented for travellers arriving from countries where the virus has spread.

"The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient... who is stable," said health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed.

Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organization and the patient had been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital.

Read more: 'No reason to panic!': Meet the Lebanese student video blogging from Wuhan, coronavirus' ground zero

The death toll from the epidemic virus has neared 1,400 cases, almost exclusively in China where it was first identified.

Deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems have raised concerns about the capacity of African countries to respond to an outbreak.

Earlier this month, Egypt suspended all flights on its national carrier to China. They will remain grounded until the end of the month.

Three hundred and one Egyptians were evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the virus in China, and have remained in quarantine for 14 days.

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