The first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa has been reported in Nigeria. In a release by Nigeria’s federal ministry of health the patient was confirmed by “the virology laboratory of the Lagos university teaching hospital, part of the the laboratory network of the Nigeria Centre for disease control”.
The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial capital Lagos from Milan on 25 February.
Authorities say he is stable with no serious symptoms and is being treated at a hospital in Lagos.
The Nigerian government said it had prepared for this eventuality and had activated its national emergency operations centre to implement control measures.
The authorities have started identifying all those who may have come into contact with the patient since his return to Nigeria.
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that we have been beefing up our preparation capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case” Nigeria’s minister of health promises.
More than 80,000 people are now known to be infected in 40 countries. More than 60 people are known to have died outside China, where the outbreak began.
However, the number of infections reported within mainland China continues to fall.