Kenya confirms first case of coronavirus in East Africa

Saturday, 14 March 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


NAIROBI (AFP): Kenya announced Friday the first confirmed case of coronavirus in East Africa, as the region so far unscathed by the global pandemic scaled up emergency measures to contain its spread.

A 27-year-old Kenyan woman tested positive for the virus on 12 March in Nairobi, a week after returning from the United States via London.

She was in a stable condition and recovering, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told reporters.

“We wish to assure all Kenyans that the government will use all the resources available to fight coronavirus,” he said, as the government rolled out a raft of new containment measures.

The government had traced all the contacts of the patient since she arrived back in Kenya on 5 March, he added.

“At the moment, there is absolutely no need for panic and worry,” he said.

There are now 14 countries in Africa with confirmed cases of the virus that has swept the globe, infecting more than 130,000 people and killing nearly 5,000.

But to date the continent has been spared the worst of the pandemic.

Only five people have succumbed to coronavirus so far – all in north Africa – with the sub-Saharan region recording no deaths and very low numbers of confirmed cases.

But countries in East Africa – which until the positive case in Kenya, had only recorded negative test results – have been taking precautions.