The list of African nations hit by the coronavirus keeps growing, with Namibia, Rwanda, and Eswatini among those reporting their first cases.
In Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, the health minister said the infected person is a 33-year-old who recently returned from a business trip to the U.S.
In Namibia, the health minister announced at a press conference that a Spanish couple had tested positive.
An Indian national from Mumbai is Rwanda’s first case, said Health Minister Daniel Ngamije.
Africa had for weeks been spared from the coronavirus, but the disease is now spreading across the continent: At least 21 nations have recorded cases.
Experts warn that health systems in many African countries are weak, meaning hospitals and clinics could easily be overwhelmed if there is a surge in infections.
According to the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the economies of numerous countries on the continent could be badly hit in the event of a crisis.
“Africa may lose half of its Gross Domestic Product with growth, falling from 3.2 per cent to about 2 per cent due to a number of reasons which include the disruption of global supply chains,” said economist Vera Songwe at an ECA meeting in Ethiopia.
Songwe said the continent’s ties to affected economies in the European Union, China and the U.S. was causing ripple effects.