Niger records first coronavirus case

Nigerien President Muhammadu Issoufou announced the country’s index case of coronavirus on Thursday stressing the need for the populace to observe strict hygiene practices.

“We have just registered this Thursday March 19, 2020, our 1st clinical case of #Coronavirus at #Niger . I invite all of my fellow citizens to keep calm. I urge you to respect all preventive measures. Insha’Allah, together we will overcome this ordeal,” President Mahammadou Issoufou said in a tweet.

The patient was a 36-year-old citizen who worked for a transport company, a government statement added. He is said to have returned recently from Togo via Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

He had travelled to Lome, Accra, Abidjan and Ouagadougou. The patient, now in isolation, had a stable condition. Efforts at contact tracing are also underway.

Niger becomes the latest country in Africa to confirm it has coronavirus. Neighboring Chad had also reported its index case yesterday. The last mainland Central African nation to be infected. Sao Tome and Principe is the final Central African country to have escaped infection so far.

In the largely Muslim nation, religious leaders across the board issued a joint statement suspending worship at mosques and churches to prevent the spread of the virus.

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