The first African known to have contracted the deadly coronavirus is a Cameroonian student in China. The university where he studies confirmed the situation in a statement. According to Yangtze University, the 21-year-old was being treated in hospital in southern Jingzhou city.
The statement said he had gotten the disease whiles visiting the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province. Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak which has affected thousands within and outside China so far.
From Wuhan, he returned to his place of residence in Jingzhou, on 19 January, before a lockdown was imposed in Wuhan to prevent the spread of the plague. So far the death toll is over 200 people. The first death outside China was recorded over the weekend in the Philippines.
“The university has provided psychological comfort to the student and has reported the situation to his parents and the embassy.
“At present, the student is actively cooperating with the treatment in the hospital. His body temperature has been normal for two consecutive days. He has good spirit and a healthy appetite and his vital organs are stable,” the statement added.
There is a sizeable number of African students studying across China. Hundreds of such students have been caught in the Wuhan lockdown with many pushing for evacuation from the city.
Of the complaints that most students have shared are lack of key supplies such as water, food and surgical masks – which have become a key commodity for people in China and for travelers to and from China.
Cameroonian students are reported to have petitioned the president for evacuation claiming the embassy in Beijing has not been helpful. Most African countries have opted against evacuation of students as yet. Morocco is the known exception for now.
Earlier today, the Chinese ambassador in Cameroon met the press to give an update on what the government is doing to deal with the situation. His counterpart in South Africa held a similar press briefing.