Libya recorded its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the UN-backed government announced, stoking concern that an outbreak could overwhelm the war-torn country’s already weakened health care system.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the Middle East, countries have sought to slow the increase of cases by limiting the movements of hundreds of millions of people.
A 73-year-old man, who crossed into Libya from neighbouring Tunisia on March 5, became the large North-African country’s first recorded case. The Libyan patient had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, according to the National Center for Disease Control, and is receiving medical treatment for his fever and cough in isolation at a Tripoli hospital.
The confirmation of Libya’s first case, three weeks after the patient’s arrival in the country, poses a test for its fragile medical system.