Ethiopia reports first coronavirus death

Ethiopia on Sunday announced the first death of a patient suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as officials ramped up testing to get a clearer picture of the outbreak there.

“It is my deepest regret to announce the first death of a patient from #COVID19 in Ethiopia,” Health Minister Lia Tadesse said on Twitter.

The victim was a 60-year-old Ethiopian woman who had spent six days in intensive care, a health ministry statement said.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also took to Twitter on Sunday to offer his condolences.

Ethiopia, a country of more than 100 million people, confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 13 and has recorded just 43 in total — mostly people who have a history of recent foreign travel.

As of Friday, the country had conducted just 1,222 tests, according to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute.

South Africa, by comparison, has performed tens of thousands of tests.

On Saturday, Ethiopian officials announced they were conducting an additional 647 tests “as part of strengthening the COVID-19 surveillance”.

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