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Kenya, Gabon confirm first coronavirus cases

Nairobi. Internet photo

Kenya and Gabon each confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, Thursday, in a development that is likely to put neighbouring countries on heightened alert.

Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s Minister for Health, said the patient is a Kenyan student who travelled back home from the United States via London, United Kingdom on March 5.


“She was confirmed positive, by the National Influenza Laboratory, at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health,” the minister said, adding that the patient is okay at the moment.


“I would like to add, however, that the patient is stable, her temperature has gone down to normal and she is behaving normally. She is eating, but she can’t be released until she tests negative,” the minister told a news conference in Nairobi on Friday.


Like Kenya, Gabon confirmed its first case of the pandemic on Thursday.

Edgar Anicet Mboumbou Miyakou, state minister in charge of communication and government spokesperson, said the patient is a 27-year-old Gabonese citizen who had travelled to Bordeaux, France and arrived back in Gabon on March 8.

“On 8th March, when he arrived in the country he was tested, but his results were found negative. Two days after, he started coughing, he had a throat pain and difficulty in breathing,” the state minister said Thursday in a statement, originally in French.

After showing symptoms, he added, “the patient was admitted to the National Military Hospital, Bongo Ondimba, where he tested positive for coronavirus”

“His health is in good condition. We are tracking people who might have come into contact with him so that they can also be quarantined and tested. Therefore, the government calls for no panic, but rather comply with the preventive measures that have been issued by the World Health Organisation,” he added.

According to World Health Organisation statistics, 14 African countries have so far recorded cases of the virus. The others are Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Morocco, South Africa, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Tunisia that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation upgraded the status of the coronavirus outbreak from epidemic to pandemic. 

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said that, the number of cases of Covid-19 outside China increased 13 times over the past two weeks alone, while the number of affected countries tripled. 

He also said there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries around the world with 4,291 deaths.

Rwanda has not recorded any case of novel coronavirus and the country has in recent days stepped up measures to keep the virus at bay.

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