A worker checks the temperature of travellers at the border post with Kenya in Namanga, northern Tanzania, on March 16, 2020, on the day Tanzania confirmed the first case of the covid-19. – Tanzania and Somalia on March 16 became the latest East African countries to confirm their first cases of coronavirus, as neighbouring countries shuttered borders and schools as fears of contagion rose. A 46-year-old Tanzanian woman tested positive for the illness after returning from Belgium on March 15, where she had been staying with a relative sick with coronavirus. (Photo by Filbert RWEYEMAMU / AFP)

Tanzania Confirms First Case of Coronavirus

VOA News By Charles Kombe

DAR ES SALAAM – At least 30 countries across Africa have now reported cases of coronavirus, including four that reported their first instances Monday – Benin, Liberia, Somalia and Tanzania. 

Speaking to reporters Monday, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the coronavirus patient is a 46-year-old Tanzanian woman who arrived in Arusha from Belgium on the afternoon of March 14. 

Mwalimu said the passenger arrived through Kilimanjaro Airport and was checked by the health officials but was not found to have a fever. Later, she started feeling unwell while in a hotel and went to the Mount Meru regional hospital, where a sample was taken to the public health laboratory in Dar es Salaam for an investigation.

Mwalimu said the laboratory results have confirmed the person has COVID-19. 

The minister said the patient is in good condition and officials are tracing those with whom she came into contact after her arrival. 

Authorities announced other steps to halt the spread of the virus. President John Magufuli postponed the Uhuru torch ceremony, an annual event that involves relaying a torch across the country.  

The government advised all citizens to postpone nonessential travel to countries with reported COVID-19 cases.  

And officials advised public places such as schools, hotels, churches and mosques to install hand sanitizers.