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Africa’s busiest airport says foreigners can’t disembark

JOHANNESBURG — Anxiety rose in Africa’s richest nation Friday as South Africa announced coronavirus cases jumped to 202, the most in the sub-Saharan region, and the country’s largest airport announced that foreigners would not be allowed to disembark.

“The aircraft will be contained at an isolated bay with all officials ensuring the utmost care is taken,” O.R. Tambo International Airport said, following up on the government’s announcement of travel restrictions days ago while declaring a national disaster. “We are working with the airline to ensure that foreign nationals return to the country of origin.”

The Johannesburg airport is the busiest in Africa. Foreigners across the continent have faced the increasing chance of being stranded as countries close borders and block flights.

Another African nation announced its first case, Cape Verde. Thirty-seven countries on the continent now have cases, with a total now well above 800.

One of South Africa’s new patients is a hospital worker, health officials said, as concerns about local transmission grew.

So far most of the cases in Africa have been linked to overseas travel. But overnight Niger in announcing its first case highlighted possible regional spread inside the continent. Its citizen had traveled via the West African capitals of Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

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