Algeria has reported its first case of the novel Coronavirus recognised by the World Health Organisation as COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria made this known on Tuesday.
This follows Africa’s first case which was reported earlier this month in Egypt.
Health authorities report that tests indicated that an Italian adult, who arrived in the country on 17 February 2020, tested positive for the disease.
Italy has seen the biggest outbreak of the disease in Europe, with more than 260 cases and seven deaths reported, most in the prosperous north of the country.
The fast-spreading nature of the disease has seen the prices of hygienic masks and sanitising gels increase up to 400 percent with pharmaceutical stores running out of the items.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said, “This is the first case in the WHO African region. The window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing. All countries must ramp up their preparedness activities.”
Algeria is one of the 47 countries in the WHO African region.
The North African country is one of 13 countries, which WHO has identified as a top priority for preparedness measures due to their direct links or a high volume of travel to China.
WHO said it is preparing to deploy a team of experts in Algeria to support health authorities.