Senegal reports first COVID-19 case
Brazzaville/Dakar, 2 March 2020 – Senegal today reported its first case of COVID-19, becoming the fourth country in Africa to confirm the virus. The patient is a French national and a resident of Senegal who returned to Dakar on 26 February.
The case was confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory of the Pasteur Institute of Senegal. The Ministry of Health has notified the World Health Organization (WHO) and a team of experts from the WHO Emergency Hub in Dakar are supporting the Senegalese health authorities.
The patient had stayed in the southern French town of Nimes as well as in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. He has been isolated at a hospital in Dakar.
“As countries in Africa confirm cases, the virus is no longer a threat to the continent, but a reality,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We are working with countries in the region to ensure that measures are taken to contain further spread of the virus.”
So far Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria have reported cases. The case in Senegal was confirmed a day after Algeria reported two new cases on 1 March.
WHO is supporting countries in their efforts to increase their readiness, mainly in ensuring that vital early detection and control measures are in place and are as robust as possible. WHO is working with our networks of researchers and other experts to coordinate regional work on surveillance, epidemiology, modelling, diagnostics, clinical care and treatment, and other ways to identify, manage the disease and limit onward transmission.
WHO has issued interim guidance for countries, which is regularly updated to taking into account ongoing developments. Guidance has recently been issued on topics including quarantine measures, citizen repatriations, and how to ensure that workplaces are prepared for COVID-19.