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The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the new coronavirus disease Covid-19. WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (pictured above) explained that the name was an amalgam of the words "corona," "virus" and "disease." He stressed that it did not refer to a geographical location / Photo: EMF

Africa announces first confirmed coronavirus case

Egypt’s health ministry on Friday announced its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, which is  also the first known infection on the continent of Africa.

The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality.

“The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient… who is stable,” said health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed.

Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organization (WHO) and the patient had been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital.

The death toll from the epidemic virus, which WHO has named COVID-19, has neared 1,400 cases, almost exclusively in China where it was first identified.

Deep trade links with China and often overstretched healthcare systems have raised concerns about the capacity of African countries to respond to an outbreak.

Earlier this month, Egypt suspended all flights on its national carrier to China. They will remain grounded until the end of the month.

Three hundred and one Egyptians were evacuated from Wuhan, epicentre of the virus in China, and have remained in quarantine for 14 days.

The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic rose to 1,483 on Friday.

Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday – a woman in her 80s – adding to two previous fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Japan is one of the worst affected of more than two dozen countries and territories outside mainland China that have seen hundreds of infections from the flu-like sickness.

Kola Tella with agency reports

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