Africa: Ethiopia quarantines four persons over coronavirus

Ethiopia has isolated four people suspected of having coronavirus, local media reported on Tuesday.

Health officials say the coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. After a week, some people can experience shortness of breath and need hospital treatment.

The virus is said to be a new coronavirus – a family that normally affects animals. It is believed that it was transmitted from animals to humans in the Chinese city of Wuhan before it began spreading.

At least 107 people have died while over 4500 people have been infected, most of them in China.

In Ethiopia, the four persons have been quarantined in the capital, Addis Ababa. There is also an unconfirmed case in Ivory Coast.

Africa Center for Disease Control said at a news conference in Ethiopia on Tuesday morning that there was no confirmed case of coronavirus in Africa, but warned the virus was spreading fast and things could change.

Ethiopia began screening all passengers arriving from China last Wednesday at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport to check for infections.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Addis Ababa, Dr Lia Tadesse, a junior health minister, and other officials said all four of the suspected cases were Ethiopian nationals.

Three of them were students who had traveled back from various universities near Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Their blood samples would be sent to South Africa for thorough testing, health officials said.

The BBC reported that to date Ethiopian Airlines has screened more than 22,000 passengers for symptoms of the deadly virus, adding that more than 100 people have now died in China, with confirmed infections surging to more than 4,500.

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Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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