Libya Records Its First Confirmed Coronavirus Case

Published March 25th, 2020 - 07:27 GMT
Ahmed al-Hassi, spokesman for the medical committee to combat COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, speaks during a press conference on March 20, 2020 announcing updates on figures for suspected cases. Abdullah DOMA / AFP
Ahmed al-Hassi, spokesman for the medical committee to combat COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, speaks during a press conference on March 20, 2020 announcing updates on figures for suspected cases. Abdullah DOMA / AFP
Highlights
The confirmation of Libya's first case, three weeks after the patient's arrival in the country, poses a test for its fragile medical system.

Libya recorded its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on Tuesday.

A 73-year-old man who crossed into the country from neighboring Tunisia on March 5 became Libya's first recorded case, according to the National Center for Disease Control.

He is receiving medical treatment for his fever and cough in isolation at a Tripoli hospital, said the Center.

The confirmation of Libya's first case, three weeks after the patient's arrival in the country, poses a test for its fragile medical system.

Attempts at a nationwide disease protection program have been undermined by the country's division between the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army.

"This is a health system that was close to collapse before you get the coronavirus," said Elizabeth Hoff, head of mission for the World Health Organization in Libya.

Equipment for testing is limited, there is very little protective gear and there is a severe shortage of medical workers, particularly in rural areas, Hoff said.

"There is a national plan, but funding has not yet been allocated for implementation," she said.

The committee in charge of fighting the flu-like disease announced early on Wednesday a ban on movement between cities and areas until further notice.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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