Africa on alert for first case of Wuhan coronavirus

African countries have stepped up screenings at border checkpoints to prevent the spread of a pneumonia-like illness from China as the continent waits to see if it has its first confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Eugene Aka Aouele, the Ivorian health minister, said on Sunday that a 34-year-old woman from the West African country had arrived in Abidjan from Beijing on Saturday with flu-like symptoms including difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing and a runny nose.

The woman, a student who has lived in Beijing for five years, was in isolation, under medical observation and her condition was “satisfactory”, the health ministry said.

“There is a suspicion of a case of coronavirus pneumonia. The final diagnosis will be established after the results of the analysis of the samples taken,” Aouele said.

Several African countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, have already issued alerts and ramped up screening for the coronavirus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last month and has killed 81 people in China.

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