By Adam Abu-bashal
ABUJA, Nigeria (AA) - Malawi confirmed its first three cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, becoming the 50th African nation to be infected.
President Peter Mutharika said on national television that a 61-year-old Indian national had tested positive for the virus.
The woman is in quarantine and in stable condition, said Mutharika.
He added that two people who had close contact with her have also tested positive.
Only Lesotho, Comoros, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe remain free of the virus.
After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 180 countries and regions.
The global death toll from the virus now exceeds 51,485 with more than 1 million confirmed cases and 208,949 recoveries, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
While the epicenter has shifted from China to Europe, the highest number of cases for any country is in the U.S. with 236,339.
The coronavirus attacks the respiratory tract with the potential to cause pneumonia and death.
Despite its severity, most people experience mild symptoms and recover, but the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable.
*Writing by Burak Dag