Nairobi (AFP) – African countries have been among the last to be hit by the global coronavirus epidemic but as cases rise, many nations are now taking strict measures to block the deadly illness.
Here is a snapshot of the situation on a continent plagued by weak health systems and shortages of doctors and hospital beds, but where many countries have top-level expertise in fighting contagious disease.
– Slow to arrive, but now spreading –
The first case in Africa was recorded in Egypt on February 14, and by early March there were only two more cases in Algeria and Nigeria.
Experts initially wondered why the continent appeared to have so few cases — and some speculated whether the virus was spreading undetected.
Since then confirmed cases have spread steadily and in a little over a week more than 20 new countries have been infected, bringing the total to 30 of 54 African nations with 450 known cases of the virus.