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Comoros Confirms Its First COVID-19 Case

Members of the medical staff at the Mohammmed V military hospital, wearing protective outfits, are pictured during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, in the Moroccan capital Rabat on April 15, 2020. FADEL SENNA / AFP.

Comoros on Thursday announced its first official coronavirus infection, making it the second-last African country to report the novel virus.

The Indian Ocean archipelago and the tiny kingdom of Lesotho were the only two countries without any confirmed coronavirus cases left on the continent.

“On this day of April 30, 2020, the government declares the first case of COVID-19 on the Comoros,” President Azali Assoumani said during an address to the nation.

The case is a man in his 50s who came into contact with a French-Comorian national with recent travel history to France.

“The patient’s medical condition is gradually improving,” Azali assured, adding that his contacts were being traced.

He said the priority would now be to shield the healthcare system from overload, which would force government to adopt “even more draconian measures” to protect the population.

“While other countries who were hit earlier are preparing to go back to normality, our country is entering a critical phase,” Azali warned.

A nightly curfew came into force last week to limit the chances of coronavirus spreading among the country’s 832,000 inhabitants.

Assoumani said he had not imposed a full lockdown because most of the population lives off informal work.

“At this stage of the pandemic we cannot afford to adopt measures that could lead to social and economic drama,” he added.

A healthcare worker who did not wish to give her name told AFP the announcement came “rather late”.

“Only one positive case? The president is funny. The (real) number is much higher,” she feared.

Earlier this month, Azali angrily debunked news of a coronavirus case reported by a former minister on the neighbouring island of Mayotte.

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