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Coronavirus: Africa gets its first suspected case of deadly virus in Ivory Coast

  • The new deadly virus known as Coronavirus may have made its way from Wuhan, China where it was first detected, to Africa.
  • Health officials in Ivory Coast are testing an unnamed student who returned to the West African country from Beijing with flu-like symptoms.
  • If confirmed, this will be Africa's first case of the dangerous outbreak.

Africa may be dealing with its first case of the deadly Coronavirus.

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CNN reports that health officials in Ivory Coast are testing an unnamed student who entered the West African country from Beijing with flu-like symptoms on Saturday, January 25, 2020.

In a statement, Ivory Coast's Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene revealed that the 34-year-old student was coughing, sneezing and had difficulty breathing by the time she arrived at the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Abidjan.

The student has since been moved to a safe location for further testing and is currently under medical observation.

According to the health ministry, "Her general state is satisfactory. There are, at this stage, suspicions of a case of pneumonia tied to the coronavirus."

The traveller, who has lived in China for the past five years, is expected to get her test results on Sunday evening. If confirmed, this will be the first case of the deadly virus in Africa.

Michel Yao, WHO Africa emergency response program manager, said health ministers in the region have been advised to activate standard flu screening at airports for passengers coming from mainland China.

Coronavirus, which is believed to have originated with bats, can be spread directly from person-to-person.

The first case was recorded in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Since then, the deadly virus has spread to 14 countries including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the United States.

So far, over 2700 coronavirus cases have been confirmed with at least 81 deaths. Symptoms of the outbreak include pneumonia-like symptoms: fever, and difficulty breathing.

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