Sierra Leone has recorded its first case of the new coronavirus.
The government said this on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, making it the latest African country to register an infection.
President Julius Maada Bio in a televised press conference revealed that a 37-year-old man who arrived in the country from France on March 16, 2020, had tested positive.
The President added that the man had been quarantined on arrival in the West African state.
Sierra Leone had been one of the few countries in Africa to have reported zero cases, despite neighbouring Guinea and Liberia having detected infections.
There are fears that, like its neighbours, the poor nation of 7.5 million people is particularly exposed to an outbreak.
The former British colony was badly hit by the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis, which killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Bio said authorities were aggressively tracing people who may have come in contact with the infected patient and urged people to report anyone with coronavirus symptoms to the authorities.
The government had already announced anti-virus measures, by closing Land borders, banning all international flights and shut schools from Tuesday, March 31, 2020, until further notice, among other measures.
Six of Africa’s 54 nations have been spared of the virus to date: South Sudan, Burundi, Sao Tome and Principe, Malawi, Lesotho and Comoros.