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 was in Congo for several days. He and others with him are 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 largely spared sub-Saharan Africa so far, but since February cases have been registered in Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Togo and Burkina Faso. North African countries registered dozens of cases.
Congo’s first coronavirus case comes as its long-running Ebola epidemic appears on the wane. The last patient 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.