Gabon and Ghana confirmed their first cases of coronavirus on Thursday, becoming the ninth and tenth countries in sub-Saharan Africa to register positive cases.
The region has so far been less badly hit by coronavirus than Europe or China. Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Togo, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Democratic Republic of Congo have also registered cases.
In a statement, Gabon’s government said its case was a 27-year-old Gabonese man who had returned from France on March 8.
Ghana’s health ministry said its two cases were people who had returned recently from Norway and Turkey.
“These are imported cases of Covid-19. Both patients are currently being kept in isolation and are stable,” the ministry said in a statement.
More than 127,000 people have been infected globally and over 4,700 have died since the virus first emerged in China late last year, according to a Reuters tally.
Sub-Saharan Africa did not confirm its first coronavirus infection until February 28 in Nigeria, but experts warn that rising cases could test already fragile health systems.