Coronavirus first spread to sub-Saharan Africa when stock market losses worldwide increased amid investor alarm over a potential global pandemic.
Nigerian health minister Osagie Ehanire said the first case in the region was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and returned from Italy to Lagos on February 25. “The patient is clinically stable, without serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Yaba, Lagos,” said Ehanire.
The case is only the third in the African continent, something that has baffled health specialists because of the continent’s close ties to China. WHO said that Africa’s “fragile health systems” also mean that the threat posed by the virus “is considerable”.
Egypt filed the first Covid-19 case in Africa, announced on February 14th. Algeria said it had a case on Tuesday, an Italian adult who arrived in the country on February 17th. This prompted the WHO regional director for Africa, dr. Matshidiso Moeti, to warn that the “window of opportunity that the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing.”
His warning was reiterated on Thursday by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said the epidemic is at a “global pivotal point” and that it could “get out of control” if the affected countries do not move. quickly to contain it.
“It’s what’s going on in the rest of the world which is now our biggest concern,” he said.
The spread of the virus prompted investors to take decisive measures on Friday when global markets plummeted again. On Thursday, the Dow Jones suffered the biggest drop in a day, plunging 1,190 points, or 4.4%, with analysts warning that the virus could cause damage like the 2008/09 global financial crisis. Stocks followed suit in the Asian trading session on Friday as Brent crude oil was poised to drop below $ 50 a barrel for the first time in four years.
“The coronavirus now looks like a pandemic. Markets can cope even if there is a big risk as long as we can see the end of the tunnel, “said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “But at the moment, nobody can say how long it will last and how serious it will be.”
Others warned that the impact of the virus would also outweigh the impact of the US-China trade war, while expectations that the U.S. federal reserve would cut interest rates to cushion the blow are increasing in the money markets.
Donald Trump set an optimistic tone for a second consecutive day on the virus, saying Thursday evening that US agencies were doing “excellent work” and in the United States and China, Covid-19 cases were waning.
But where he led the Dow, the Asian markets followed, with the markets in Australia, China, Japan and South Korea recording heavy losses.
The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has pledged to protect the economy.
“But I am aware of the views that if the virus spreads, it could have a huge impact on the economy,” Abe told parliament. “If developments change, we will ensure that we take the necessary measures to prevent the virus from becoming a huge downside risk for the Japanese economy.”
Other developments included:
Lithuania and New Zealand reported their first confirmed cases of Covid-19.
China has registered 44 new deaths and 327 new confirmed, as the spread of the virus continues to slow down within the country.
South Korea has announced 256 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 2,022, by far the largest outside China.
In the United States, California health officials are monitoring 8,400 people for symptoms after arriving on domestic flights.
There have been 38 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France.
17 people died in Italy
Tokyo Disneyland has announced that it will close from Saturday until March 15th.
Australian doctors have warned that the public health system could be overwhelmed in the event of a pandemic, one day after the government launched its emergency response program.
In London, investors feared another drop in the main FTSE100 index, while the British chief physician warned Thursday that it was “just a matter of time” until the coronavirus spread to the UK. Three people tested positive for Covid-19 in Britain on Thursday, including the first confirmed case in Northern Ireland, while experts warned of school closings and the cancellation of important events.