Nigeria on Friday became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to confirm a case of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Akin Abayomi, the Health Commissioner for Lagos, Africa’s most populous city with 20 million residents, said the patient is an Italian national who arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday from Milan.
Abayomi said the foreigner fell ill the following day and did not exhibit serious symptoms. Health officials are working to identify all the people the patient came into contact with.
The 44-year-old Italian traveled from Milan to Lagos via Istanbul aboard a Turkish Airlines flight. The diagnosis was confirmed at the virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
“I have seen him this morning, he is in high spirits,” said Dr. Bowale Abimbola, medical director of the hospital where the patient is admitted.
“He is doing well and we expect that he will continue to do well.”
Nigeria is among the 13 African countries the World Health Organization (WHO) classified as a high priority in the COVID-19 outbreak due to direct links to China or a high number of travelers from there.
The first cases of coronavirus in the continent were confirmed in two North Africa nations- Egypt and Algeria.