Tunisia reports first confirmed coronavirus case [Upd 1]
02/03/2020 19:04, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - A first case of coronavirus affecting a Tunisian, aged 40, returning from Italy, has been confirmed in Tunisia, the Health Ministry announced on Monday afternoon.

Speaking at a press briefing at the seat of the Department, Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki said the health condition of the patient is stable and he does not suffer from complications.

That citizen, who arrived to Tunisia last February 27 on board a ship from Italy, showed no symptoms of infection with the virus.

He added that the infected patient had complied with the instructions of the health team that had received the travellers on their arrival to Tunisia.

As soon as the first symptoms emerged a few days after his arrival in Tunisia, the patient isolated himself at home and contacted the (190), after which a medical team went to the scene and conducted necessary tests that confirmed his infection with the virus on March 2.

Mekki said "all the 254 people, who accompanied that patient on the ship, and his family members have been quarantined for a period of 14 days and are currently undergoing medical monitoring, after being provided with the necessary informative instructions.

The Ministry of Health is following up with them on a daily basis to verify their compliance with the guidelines.

 The National Standing Committee to monitor the spread of the virus is working to monitor all the developments and evolution of the virus across the world and “remains ready to adjust its strategy to the development of the epidemiological situation,” he pointed out.

He added that surveillance teams monitor the health condition of travellers from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait etc., by contacting them by phone to raise awareness on the need to abide by prevention instructions and report any symptoms of infection that may appear during the incubation period of the disease (14 days).

Mekki said the entire health system has been mobilised to deal with this epidemic through the provision of the necessary medical devices.

He added that the Ministry has increased the level of vigilance through stepping up co-ordination with the various stakeholders to better control the health status of travellers arriving to Tunisia in airports, seaports and border crossings.

The Director General of Basic Health Care at the Ministry of Health, Chokri Hammouda said the seriousness of this infection lies in the speed of its spread, stressing that Tunisia has large quantities of anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the symptoms of this virus (fever and breathing difficulties).

He added that about 100 people suspected of being infected with the virus have undergone tests that proved negative, stressing the need to respect the instructions of the health teams until the quarantine period ends.

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