The Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed its first case of the coronavirus in a Congolese national who resides in France and returned to his country of birth on March 8, displaying no symptoms of infection upon arrival. The patient and those traveling with him have been placed under quarantine, according to the country’s health minister Dr. Eteni Longondo. The spread of the virus to the DRC brings the total number of sub-Saharan African nations with confirmed cases to eight; South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire also have cases of infection.
Why It Matters
Sub-Saharan Africa has largely been spared the worst of the viral outbreak, which the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11. The low rates of infection for sub-Saharan Africa can be attributed to proactive measures undertaken by public health officials and care providers, building upon lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. This news is bittersweet for the DRC, specifically, as the Central African country discharged its last Ebola patient on March 3, a positive sign that the 2018 Ebola outbreak that began in the country’s north could be declared over soon.