Angola confirms first cases as coronavirus spreads over Africa

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A woman wearing a face mask walks nearby the Central Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday, March 20, 2020. The government banned all religious activities for four weeks following confirmation of coronavirus cases in the country. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Angola on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.

The continent has been slower to feel the impact than Asia or Europe, and most of its reported cases have been foreigners or people who have returned from abroad.

But confirmed infections have started to accelerate, with more than 830 across Africa, according to a Reuters tally, and concerns are growing about its ability to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.

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Angola’s first cases were two male Angolan residents who flew back from Portugal on March 17 and 18, Health minister Silvia Lutucuta told a briefing.

Zimbabwe reported its first case on Friday, and a second on Saturday, while the island of Mauritius, with 14 cases, reported its first death, a person who had travelled from Belgium via Dubai.

Many African countries have already shut borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings to curb the spread of the virus, which has infected over 250,000 people around the world and claimed more than 10,000 lives.

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South Africa, which has the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed 38 news cases, taking its total to 240.

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, confirmed 10 new cases including the first three in the capital Abuja, bringing its total to 22.

Reporting by George Obulutsa and Ayenat Mersie in Nairobi and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg, Paul Carstens in Abuja, MacDonald Dzirutwe in Zimbabwe; Writing by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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