World, Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Guinea-Bissau premier, 3 ministers contract COVID-19

Officials immediately quarantined at hotel in capital, says country's top doctor

Felix Tih and James Tasamba   | 29.04.2020
Guinea-Bissau premier, 3 ministers contract COVID-19

ANKARA/KIGALI, Rwanda

Guinea-Bissau's premier announced on Wednesday that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"I have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, I am at home and I feel well," Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Na Biam said on Facebook.

Three government ministers were also reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, with Na Biam admitting that multiple members of an inter-ministerial coronavirus committee were also infected by the virus after getting exposed "at the forefront" of the fight against the pandemic.

Na Biam and the trio of ministers, including Interior Minister Botche Cande, Secretary of State for Regional Planning and Integration Monica Buaro and Secretary of State for Public Order Mario Fambe,  were immediately quarantined at a hotel in the capital of Bissau, Health Minister Antonio Deuna said, adding that Na Biam's infection was a community transmission case.

Deuna and Na Biam separately invited the country to respect COVID-19 preventive measures and said the situation is becoming more serious.

The news came days after President Umaro Sissoco Embalo placed a major order for COVID-organics from Madagascar. Organic concoction is said to cure virus-infected patients.

Guinea-Bissau news site odemocratagb.com reported that as of Wednesday, the country had recorded more than 131 cases of infection of the new coronavirus.

In total, there are 205 positive cases registered, including 19 recoveries and one death, it said, citing data from the Emergency Health Operations Center.

The country recorded its first COVID-19 death last Saturday, causing the president to extend a nationwide state of emergency to May 11. Officials announced the country's only death was the following day, after which several ministers and government officials were tested and are awaiting the results.

The government shut the country's borders and public places, including restaurants, places of worship and schools, and imposed a night-time curfew as part of efforts to contain the virus.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 34,915 on Wednesday as the death toll hit 1,521, according to the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

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