Somaliland Confirms First Two Cases of COVID-19
Arrival of Covid-19 raises fears about how under-developed and unrecognized nation’s health system will cope
By Abdirisak Itaqile
Hargeisa, (Somaliland Monitor) -Somaliland has confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday after weeks of increasing skepticism over the under-developed and unrecognized nation’s claims to be free of the disease.
Health Minister Omar Ali Abdullahi, said the two patients are a Somaliland citizen who had arrived from the UK and currently living in Buroa and a Chinese citizen living in Berbera.
“The clinical status of the two patients remains stable, and we are closely monitoring their situation,” the National Preparedness Committee for COVID19 officially tweeted.
We confirm the first two cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Somaliland as being one Somaliland National who came back from Britain and a Chinese citizen.
The clinical status of the two patients remains stable, and we are closely monitoring their situation. pic.twitter.com/HNBfanoeXm
— National Preparedness Committee for COVID19 (@NPCCOVID19) March 31, 2020
The confirmation of the first two cases of Covid-19 in Somaliland will raise fears about how the country’s overstretched health system will cope if the virus spreads through its population of 3 million.
Neighboring countries, including the Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti have reported a growing number of cases.
In a press conference held by the National Preparedness Committee for COVID19, Health Minister Omar Ali Abdullahi said the two cases were first detected on February 27.
“After initial suspicions, the two men tested positive in a local laboratory. Then we sent samples to WHO-recognized laboratory in Kenya. The latter results came in today concurring earlier results,” he said.
“We will investigate all the people who were in close contact with these two men,” Health Minister added.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December the virus has spread to at least 179 countries and regions, according to the Johns Hopkins database.
The U.S. is the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide with more than 175,000 infections, followed by Italy, Spain, China and Germany, according to its data.