Tuesday, April 20

Algeria Announce its First Coronavirus Death

The Algerian Health Ministry on Thursday announced that a woman has died from Coronavirus, becoming the first fatality in the North African country.

The ministry said the woman died in a hospital in the province of Blida, near the capital Algiers.

According to the ministry, she is among 24 confirmed Coronavirus infections recorded in Algeria.

They include five cases announced on Thursday, two of whom recently came from France.

On Tuesday, Morocco, a neighbour of Algeria, reported its first death from the virus.

Egypt, another North African country, announced its first such fatality on Sunday.

Experts consider Africa to be at high risk due to its close links with China, the epicentre of the Coronavirus epidemic and the weak health systems in many African countries.

But the continent’s Coronavirus outbreak has so far been limited compared with those in Asia or Europe.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation had recorded 107 cases in 11 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Ivory Coast on Wednesday became the 12th country to report its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Egypt and Algeria have had the highest number of cases on the continent, while South Africa has the most in sub-Saharan Africa. It announced four new cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 17.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said in a statement that they include South Africa’s first case of local transmission, involving a 32-year-old man who came into contact with a Chinese businessman.

All other patients in South Africa had traveled to countries with Coronavirus outbreaks.

The three other new cases announced on Thursday are a 38-year-old man who lives in Turkey, had traveled to Britain and was visiting his family in South Africa; and a 27-year-old woman and 43-year-old man who had been in the United States.

“At this stage, all patients are in self-quarantine and have mild to moderate symptoms,’’ the institute said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had on Wednesday appealed for calm.

“South Africans should not panic. We should be alert, so that if people show signs of some of the symptoms, they immediately are able to get medical assistance.’’

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