The World Health Organisation’s Africa emergency response program manager Michel Yao advised health ministers in the region to activate standard flu screening at airports for passengers coming from mainland China.
There is a considerable community of students in China from African countries, and a number of them have expressed their desire to return home as authorities struggle to contain the virus. Other countries across the world are considering the option of evacuating their citizens.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda among other countries have started implementing surveillance and screening at airports, especially for travelers arriving from Wuhan in China where the outbreak began in December.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus.
January 28,2020: Ethiopia confirms four possible cases
Ethiopia’s state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate, FBC, reported that four Ethiopians suspected of being infected by coronavirus has been placed in isolation, said the Ministry of Health.
“The students arrived in Ethiopia from a university in Wuhan, Chain’s worst-affected city by the disease,” the report added.
January 28,2020: Kenya rushes suspected case to hospital
Kenya Airways on Tuesday confirmed that one of its passengers who had travelled from the Chinese city of Wuhan to Nairobi had presented coronavirus-like symptoms and was rushed to hospital on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
‘‘Kenya Airways confirms that a passenger who travelled on our flight KQ886 from Guangzhou to Nairobi on 28 January 2020 has, as a precautionary measure, been quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” KQ said in a statement.
The county’s health ministry said it was investigating the suspected case at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) isolation ward.
‘‘He was brought by the airport surveillance ambulance and is currently going through tests to rule out or confirm if he indeed has the disease,’‘ KNH Communications manager Hezekiel Gikambi told a local newspaper.
The Daily Nation added that KQ’s crew had isolated the passenger during the flight and provided him with a face mask, as per ICAO protocols.
January 27,2020: Ivory case tests suspect
Ivory Coast on Monday became the first African country to test a suspected Coronavirus case, when a female student arrived at an airport in the capital with suspicious symptoms.*
‘‘The 34-year-old student traveled from Beijing to the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Abidjan on Saturday and was coughing, sneezing and experienced difficulty breathing,’‘ Ivory Coast’s Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene said in statement.
This effectively becomes the first case of testing for the virus on the African continent, even as Chinese authorities announced on Tuesday that its death toll had surpassed 100 from over 4,000 cases reported.
Authorities in Ivory Coast moved the student to a safe location where she is currently being monitored. The health says it is highly likely a case of pneumonia and not coronavirus, but the final diagnosis will be made after the analysis of the results of the test.