Botswana confirms first case of suspected coronavirus

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the health and wellness department said that the suspected case was registered at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport today upon arrival from China on an Ethiopian Airways flight.

FILE: Passengers arriving from China wait in line to be checked by health officials at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam on 29 January 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Botswana's government has confirmed the country's first suspected case of coronavirus.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the health and wellness department said that the suspected case was registered at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport today upon arrival from China on an Ethiopian Airways flight.

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It said that the person was currently under isolation, with investigations underway.

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South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that it had received a large volume of calls over the last few days from people enquiring about the coronavirus.

An emergency operation centre was now fully activated after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a global emergency.

The death toll has risen to over 200 people, while more than 9,000 people have been confirmed with the infection.

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The institute has stepped up efforts to monitor the impact on home soil although there is no confirmed detected case in the country.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize: "Even ordinary flu is treated with suspicion, so we expect that out of vigilance, the number of people who have been calling will increase and we believe that it is better to over suspect than to under-diagnose."

Meanwhile, social media giant Facebook said that it would start taking down bogus claims about purported cures and other unproven theories surrounding the coronavirus.

Facebook said that it would remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations that could cause harm to people who believed them.