Libya confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, with years of violence leaving its healthcare system highly vulnerable.
The National Centre for Disease Control, which operates in areas controlled by both major sides in the Libyan conflict, gave no further details in its statement on the coronavirus case. However, doctors said the patient was in a hospital in Tripoli, Reuters reported.
Both the internationally recognised government in Tripoli, in the west, and a rival administration ruling from Benghazi in the east have imposed lockdowns, stopped foreign travel and promised resources for the health service.
The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) has been trying to capture Tripoli since last year. Despite a ceasefire call by the United Nations last week to allow all sides to focus on preparing for the pandemic, fighting has continued, with heavy shelling and clashes on Tuesday.
"This is a health system that was close to collapse before you get the coronavirus," said Elizabeth Hoff, head of mission for the World Health Organization in Libya.
Equipment for testing is limited, there is very little protective gear and there is a severe shortage of medical workers, particularly in rural areas, Hoff said.
"There is a national plan, but funding has not yet been allocated for implementation," she said.
The committee in charge of fighting the flu-like disease announced early on Wednesday a ban on movement between cities and areas until further notice.