Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed its first case of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa hit by the epidemic to seven.
The patient is a Belgian citizen who had been in Congo for several days. He and others with him have been placed in quarantine, Congolese health minister Eteni Longondo said on Radio Okapi.
“What I’d like to tell people is not to panic,” he said.
The outbreak has largely spared sub-Saharan Africa so far, but since February a few cases have been registered in Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo and Burkina Faso. North African countries have registered dozens of cases.
Congo’s first coronavirus case comes as its long-running Ebola epidemic appears to be on the wane. The last patient being treated for Ebola was discharged on March 3 – the first time there have been no active cases since the outbreak was declared in August 2018.