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Coronavirus: First case reported in Sudan

Health ministry reports death of man who returned from UAE earlier this month
Patients in a hospital in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman are shown on 10 June 2019 receiving treatment for unspecified ailments during a visit organised by Sudan’s Health Ministry (AFP)

Sudan reported its first confirmed coronavirus case on Friday, as the pandemic continued to spread through the African continent, which until recently had been relatively unscathed.

In a statement, the health ministry said that a man in his 50s had died in the capital Khartoum after being diagnosed with the virus following a visit to the United Arab Emirates in the first week of March.

On Thursday, Sudan stopped issuing visas and flights to eight countries - including Italy and neighbouring Egypt - over fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

Bus trips to Egypt have also been suspended.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Guinea also confirmed their first cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, giving the disease a foothold in 18 countries in Africa.

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Africa had so far largely been spared the rapid spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 127,000 and killed 4,700 worldwide.

Most of Africa's reported cases were foreigners or people who had travelled abroad. Rapid testing and quarantines have been put in place to limit transmission.

But concerns are growing about the continent's ability to handle the disease.

Cases have been reported in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Most of these countries' totals are still in single figures.

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