African nations are preparing for what experts believe is the inevitable emergence of cases of coronavirus on the continent.
The new coronavirus is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in China’s Wuhan city. The virus, which recently broke out in China has claimed over 100 lives, with more than 4500 cases so far confirmed.
With growing economic ties and increased travel between the African continent and China, health professionals say they must be ready to treat and isolate cases.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia announced it had quarantined three Ethiopian students and one Chinese student returning from a university in Wuhan, China.
The students were stopped during a screening at the airport when it was discovered they had symptoms including sore throat and a cough.
The consumer protection agency in Nigeria says it has closed down a Chinese-owned supermarket selling “illegally imported seafood and meat” in the capital, Abuja, over ongoing fears about the spread of coronavirus. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said they made the discovery during a “surprise” inspection. The agency said that many of the products it found in the supermarket had irregular or expired dates.
Meanwhile Uganda has joined several other African countries including Kenya, Nigeria whivh began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan.
According to Chinese Embassy in Uganda, the over 400 Ugandan students in China ‘‘now are doing well and have an emergency hotline to call for help’’
African travelers to China, particularly students have also been affected by the outbreak. An estimated 61,000 African students are studying in China and many now face canceled classes and a limited ability to move freely.
A Rwandan student studying in China told VOA’s Central Africa service that classes have been canceled until at least Feb. 13, students have been instructed to stay inside their buildings and were told to buy groceries that could last for at least three weeks.
According to media reports, The Chinese Embassy in Uganda has issued an advisory to the Chinese Community living and working in Uganda, who recently traveled back home to China to remain there until the situation normalizes. The Embassy also told its citizens in Uganda, who had plans to travel home, to halt those trips.
The embassy has also asked, the community members that just arrived recently in Uganda are to stay in self-isolation for at least two weeks.
The Ministry of Health has also designated Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital and Naguru Regional Referral Hospital as centres for case management in case of an outbreak.