Four months after the first incident was reported in China and more than 118 countries reporting cases, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has also been reported in Ethiopia imported by a Japanese national.
Liya Tadesse (MD), Minister of Health informed the media on Friday that a 48-year-old Japanese national has been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 days after his arrival in Addis Ababa.
According to Ebba Abate (Ph.D.), director of Ethiopian Public Health Institute, the victim came from Burkina Faso on March 4, 2020, originally leaving Japan on February 23, 2020. It was confirmed that the patient went to a health clinic on March 9 after experiencing symptoms.
The Minister said the patient is receiving treatment and is in a stable condition. In addition to the patient, 25 individuals who have come in contact have been quarantined.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.) summoned a ministerial committee established to deal with COVID-19 and has directed export and import trading firms to reconsider their activities.
A national task force has also been formed, in which the Ministry of Health is coordinating together with the Public Health Institute. A public hospital has been explicitly assigned to treat patients and will also serve as a makeshift quarantine unit.
It is to be recalled that some 9,000 suspected individuals have been screened and have been discharged with negative results.
In a related news, supplies of hand sanitizers, medical masks, and gloves have all run out, with prices sky-high. Pharmacies and clinics are asking for more supplies to arrive in order to meet demands.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some sort of pneumonia was detected and was reported to the WHO from Wuhan province in China on December 31, 2019, termed as COVID-19. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and declared a pandemic on March 11.
Until March 13, some 133,000 cases and close to 5,000 deaths have been confirmed from 123 countries. According to Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.) director-general of the WHO, the number of cases reported outside China has increased almost 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has almost tripled.
Kenya and Ethiopia being the latest countries to confirm COVID-19, Burkina Faso has also confirmed two cases. Egypt has the highest infections with close to 70 cases; Algeria has reported 25 cases and South Africa 17 cases. Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Nigeria, Togo, and Tunisia have also confirmed cases of COVID-19.