Ethiopia has joined the growing number of African countries dealing with the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

The East African country has reported its first confirmed case which was detected in a 48-year-old Japanese citizen.

According to the Ministry, the unnamed patient came in from Burkina Faso on March 4, 2020. The patient tested positive at the Ethiopia Public Health Institute, (EPHI).

Speaking with the press, Liya Kebede, Ethiopia’s health minister, said, "Ethiopia on Friday reported the first coronavirus case in the country. We confirm that a Japanese man who is 48 years of age, has tested positive for the virus. This is the first case in Ethiopia."

“The Japanese man arrived in Ethiopia from Burkina Faso last week, and he is now receiving medical treatment. He is in good condition.”

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She added that the ministry is doing their best to find all the people who were in close contact with the patient.

Following the announcement, Takele Uma Banti, the mayor of the capital Addis Ababa, took to Twitter to advise citizens to avoid meetings and hand contacts.

Ethiopia is the second East African country to be infected after Kenya. So far, at least fifteen African countries have been infected.

They include Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, DR Congo, Cameroon, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria.

Since emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 123 countries and territories.

The global death toll is now nearly 5,000, with over 132,000 confirmed cases, which is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a “pandemic.”