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Algeria confirms first case of coronavirus 

February 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Citizens wear masks to defend against new viruses on 22 January 2020 in Guangzhou, China [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Algeria’s Ministry of Health has announced the country’s first case of coronavirus.

An Italian man who arrived in the country on 17 February has tested positive for the virus.

The country’s health minister confirmed the patient has been placed in quarantine and is receiving treatment.

Italy is the country in Europe most affected by the disease with 11 dead and 323 confirmed cases.

The death toll in China as of yesterday was 2,663 with almost 76,700 confirmed cases.

The highest death toll outside China is Iran, with 16 reported dead and 95 confirmed cases.

The confirmed case in Algeria is the second in Africa this month, after a case was reported in Egypt.

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WHO Regional Director for Africa warned that “the window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for the coronavirus is closing. All countries must ramp up their preparedness activities.”

WHO has pledged to send a team of experts to Algeria to support health authorities there.

Algeria, along with Egypt, has been identified as a top priority and among the highest risk countries for the virus due to the high volume of travel between the country and China.

According to Quartz, flights between China and Africa increased by 600 per cent over the last decade.

There has been an outcry in Egypt after the country’s flag carrier EgyptAir announced it would resume services and operate a weekly flight to China despite the decision to suspend flights taken earlier this month.

This goes against what a number of airlines are doing, including in the Middle East, which is to impose further flight restrictions, not just to China but to other countries affected by the virus, including Iran.

Coronavirus was detected in China in December last year and has since spread to over 30 countries.