COVID-19 closes in on Southern Africa as Mozambique confirms 1st case


Malawi's neighbour Mozambique has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus - a 75-year-old man who had recently returned from Britain, health minister Armindo Tiago said on Sunday.

The man returned to the country mid-March, Tiago told journalists.

Zimbabwe on Friday confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a 38-year old man who returned from the United Kingdom on March 15 and and a second on Saturday.

How the virus has affected Southern Africa

Malawi's other neighbours Zambia and Tanzania have also confirmed cases of the virus.

Several African countries have confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus, while Rwanda has become the first nation in Africa to be placed on lockdown.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1,000 cases had been reported across Africa as of Sunday.

In Uganda, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng announced the first case, saying that a man flew into the country from Dubai on Saturday and was in stable condition.

In Angola, Health Minister Silvia Lutucuta said Saturday that two male residents who flew back from Portugal March 17-18 tested positive for COVID-19.

Eritrea said its first case of the coronavirus was a 39-year-old Eritrean who had arrived from Norway.

There are concerns that the continent will not be able to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.

The island of Mauritius, with 14 cases, reported its first death, a person who had traveled from Belgium via Dubai.

Many African countries have already shut their borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings.

In South Africa, which has the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa, more citizens have taken to wearing masks and gloves in public as the number of confirmed cases rose on Saturday to 240.

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, plans to close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from Monday night. The number of reported cases there rose to 22 on Saturday.

Rwanda, which has 17 confirmed cases, stepped up preventive measures on Saturday, banning travel between towns and other parts of the country for two weeks, closing all bars, and requiring all government and private employees to work from home.