Four days after Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus, the Senegalese Minister of Health, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, has announced that a case of the deadly disease has been discovered in his country on Monday. This is the second case in sub-Saharan Africa.
The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has increased fears of a pandemic, prompting governments to step up control measures and sending global financial markets into a dive.
Sarr disclosed that the carrier in Senegal is a French man, who lives in Senegal and came back from a skiing holiday in France on Feb. 26 on an Air Senegal flight.
According to him, the carrier passed a temperature check at the capital Dakar’s main airport on his return but developed a fever two days later and went to a private clinic for a check-up.
He said, “That clinic alerted the authorities who have quarantined him in Dakar’s Fann Hospital. The patient had been in contact with his wife and two children. It was not clear how many other people had also been in contact with him. Authorities are in the process of tracing the other passengers on the Air Senegal flight.
Details of global impact: As of Monday, there have been over 89,000 cases of the virus, the majority in China, according to a Reuters tally. Outside of China, it has spread to 66 countries, with more than 8,800 cases and 130 deaths. Globally, the illness has killed over 3,000 people.
In Africa: North African countries Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt have also confirmed cases of the virus.
Meanwhile, the risk of a global spread and impact of the coronavirus is now “very high”, the highest level of alarm, but the World Health Organisation insists that containment is still possible.
Africa’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says it has activated its emergency operation centre for a continent where healthcare capacity is limited and early detection is vital.
The WHO has identified 13 top-priority countries which either have direct links or a high volume of travel to China, but Senegal was not on that list.
What Senegalese government says … The government has made public announcements on state television advised people to wash their hands and masked health officials conduct temperature checks at the airport while others film arriving passengers.
President Macky Sall said, “The health services are taking care of the patient according to the procedure recommended by the World Health Organization.”