Mali reports its first Coronavirus cases

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Mali has confirmed its first cases of Coronavirus – two of its nationals who returned from France on 12 and 16 March.

The patients are a 49-year-old woman from the capital Bamako and a 62-year-old man living in the western city of Kayes, the government said in a statement.

The two were being taken care of by health authorities, it said.

There are fears that the war-torn and poor West African state will struggle to handle an outbreak.

The country has been trying to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in the north in 2012, and which has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and members of the security forces.

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The conflict has since spread to the centre of the country, and large swathes of the vast semi-arid state lie outside of government control.

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