Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa
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Nigeria's ministry of health on Thursday night confirmed the region's first coronavirus case in Lagos State, Nigeria.

"The case which was confirmed on 27/02/2020 is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020," the ministry tweeted.  

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The case is an Italian citizen who traveled from Milan to Nigeria on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. Currently, his symptoms are not serious.

Last month, the World Health Organization identified Nigeria as a top priority country in its coronavirus preparedness efforts due to having either "direct links or a high volume of travel to China." The other countries identified were Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

"Active screening at airports has been established in a majority of these countries and while they will be WHO first areas of focus, the organization will support all countries in the region in their preparation efforts," the WHO said in a press release.

The WHO has previously raised concerns about the low numbers of skilled health workers in sub-Saharan Africa. Concerns about coronavirus spreading to countries with weaker health systems prompted the WHO to declare a global health emergency over the novel virus last month.

"Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said at the time.

As of Thursday, the WHO reports 82,294 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide.