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Nigeria confirms coronavirus case, first in sub-Saharan Africa: minister

Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa - in Egypt and in Algeria - a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent's close economic ties with China.

This undated handout picture courtesy of the British Health Protection Agency shows the coronavirus seen under an electron microscope. Picture: AFP.

LAGOS - Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.

"The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020," Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.

"The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos."

Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa - in Egypt and in Algeria - a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent's close economic ties with China.

The World Health Organisation warned earlier this week that African health systems were ill-equipped to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak should cases start to proliferate on the continent.

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