SA cases climb as coronavirus spreads in Sub-Sahara

Among the South African patients are five travelers who recently returned to the country from Europe.
Image: Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

South Africa confirmed six new coronavirus infections after testing more than 600 potential cases, as the disease spread further in sub-Saharan Africa.

Among the South African patients are five travelers who recently returned to the country from Europe this month, the Health Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. Four tested positive in Gauteng province, the nation’s economic heartland, while the other two were found in the provinces of Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

In addition to South Africa’s 13 cases, seven other nations in sub-Saharan Africa now have confirmed infections and several governments are moving toward requiring travelers from affected countries to go into quarantine. Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa grower, also announced its first case.

Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Reunion Island, which lies off the East African coast but is part of France, said that an 80-year-old man who arrived via Paris tested positive for the virus, its first such case.
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo revised the identity of its sole patient. He’s a 52-year-old Congolese national who resides in France, and not a Belgian citizen as reported Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization’s office in the country. The WHO provided testing kits to Congo’s National Institute for Biomedical Research and other laboratories, as well as training to laboratory technicians to detect the virus, according to a statement.
  • South Sudan’s army chief, Gabriel Jok Riak, asked the United Nations mission in the country to suspend the arrival of peacekeepers from China, Cambodia, India, Nepal and South Korea until further notice, according to UN Head of Mission David Shearer.
  • Eritrea said it will quarantine all visitors who come from or have transited through China, Italy, South Korea and Iran.
  • Burundi plans to require travelers from nations including France to self-quarantine.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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