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Liberia, Tanzania, Somalia, Suriname announce first coronavirus case

Christian Fernsby |
Liberia has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, and has announced a ban on traveling to countries that have more than 200 cases of the epidemic, local media reports said yesterday.

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Nathaniel Balma, the head of Liberia's Environmental Protection Agency, tested positive for the virus after traveling to Switzerland and returning last Friday, the Africa News website reported, citing a statement by Information Minister Eugene Nagbe.

The announcement reportedly caused panic in the Liberian capital Monrovia, with residents rushing to buy hand sanitizers and face masks, said the website.

Tanzania and Somalia yesterday confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus.

Tanzania’s Health Minister called on citizen to remain calm, as a 46-year-old woman in the country tested positive for the virus, according to the Citizen, a local news website.

Quoting Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu, the website said the woman had left Tanzania for Belgium on March 3 and she also visited Sweden and Denmark between March 3-13 before returning to Belgium and then to Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s Health Ministry also announced the country’s first case of the coronavirus.

“The #Government confirms a #Coronavirus disease case in the country. The case, which is confirmed today is the first one […] The patient is Somali citizen who travelled back to the country returning from #China,” the ministry said on Twitter Monday.

Also, Somalia has suspended all international flights for 15 days starting from Wednesday, Aviation Minister Abdullahi Salad Omaar announced on Monday.

Suriname closed its international airport, Johan Adolf Pengel International also known as Paramaribo Zanderij after the country confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Friday March 13.

A statement issued by Caribbean Airlines said the airport is closed until Saturday March 21, but that date may be extended if the authorities deem it necessary.

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