NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Angola on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.
The continent has been slower to feel the impact than Asia or Europe, and most of its reported cases have been foreigners or people who have returned from abroad.
But in recent days there have been more infections, with more than 1,000 cases across Africa, according to the World Health Organization. There are concerns that the continent will not be able to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.
Angola’s first cases were two male Angolan residents who flew back from Portugal on March 17 and 18, Health minister Silvia Lutucuta told a briefing.
Zimbabwe reported its first case on Friday, and a second on Saturday, while the island of Mauritius, with 14 cases, reported its first death, a person who had traveled from Belgium via Dubai.
Many African countries have already shut borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings to curb the spread of the virus.
South Africa, which has the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed 38 new cases, taking its total to 240.
Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, plans to close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from Monday night. The number of reported coronavirus cases there rose to 22 on Saturday.
Rwanda, which has 17 confirmed cases, stepped up preventive measures on Saturday, banning travel between towns and other parts of the country for two weeks, closing all bars, and requiring all government and private employees to work from home.
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