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KAMPALA, Uganda—In hospitals across Uganda, the government is hastily constructing isolation units awaiting their first patients. In Ethiopia, officials are exhorting citizens to report on anyone displaying virus-like symptoms. In Zambia, the government is pleading with citizens stuck in China not to return home. Across Africa, nations are scrambling to strengthen health defenses in preparation for the spread of the coronavirus from China, the continent’s largest trading partner, amid rising fears the fast-spreading disease…

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