Coronavirus medics
A medic in China wearing a protective suit and mask before entering an isolation ward Image Credit: Twitter/@XHNews

Cairo: Egypt on Friday said a foreign national has tested positive for the new coronavirus, marking the populous country's first case of the infectious disease.

The person, whose gender or nationality was not disclosed, was suspected to have been infected with virus thanks to precautins taken for people arriving in Egypt from countries where cases of the infection have been registered, a Health Ministry official said.

"Clinical tests were carried out on the suspected cases that tested positive for the virus without displaying any ailment symptoms," Khaled Mejahed, the ministry spokesman added.

Egyptian authorities have informed the World Health Organisation of the case and preventive measures have been taken in cooperation with the UN agency, according to the official.

"The case has been transported inside an automated serialisation ambulance to the hospital where he is put under observation," Mejahed said without giving details. He said the patient is in stable condition.

The case is reported days after Egypt said that its home population hit 100 million people, making it the Arab world's most populous country.

Authorities have designated a hospital in the west of the country to quarantine travellers coming from the virus-stricken China.