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  • First Coronavirus Infection Reported in Latin America

    | Photo: La Voz de Galicia

Published 26 February 2020

The 61-year-old Brazilian, whose identity was not disclosed, visited the Lombardy region in northern  Italy for work between February 9th-21st this month and returned to Brazil after making a stop in Paris. 

In the midst of the popular carnival parties in Brazil, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday the first case of the coronavirus infection of a Brazilian citizen resident that spent the first ten days of February in Italy.

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"The initial diagnosis was confirmed," Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta explained in a press conference in Brasilia, adding that the emergency committee is meeting in Sao Paulo and this afternoon there will be a meeting to discuss the actions to be taken. Brazil already decreed at the beginning of February the state of national emergency.

In the country, there are currently 20 suspected cases - 11 women and 9 men - of carrying the virus between the ages of 20 and 68. Twelve of them were in Italy, two traveled to Germany, two to Thailand, one to China, one to France, one had contact with a confirmed patient and another with a suspicious case. In addition, 59 suspicious cases were ruled out by the government.

WHO says there are already more than 80,000 infections by coronavirus in 33 countries around the world

The 61-year-old Brazilian, whose identity was not disclosed, visited the Lombardy region in northern  Italy for work between February 9th-21st this month and returned to Brazil after making a stop in Paris. 

During the first days, he had no symptoms and even participated in a family reunion. At this time, there are 30 of his relatives who are under observation.

It was not until Tuesday, February 25, that Albert Einsteinde Sao Paulo hospital received a notification about a suspicious case. The patient presented mild signs and symptoms  compatible with coronavirus disease on Tuesday, such as fever, dry cough, sore throat and runny nose.

The hospital  adopted  "all preventive measures"  and performed tests for common respiratory viruses, as well as the specific test for covid-19, as recommended by the World Health Organization. The preliminary results were positive  and were sent to the national reference laboratory, the Adolfo Lutz Institute, to be verified, where a counter-test was carried out, which has confirmed that it is a case of contagion.

According to the center, "the patient is in good clinical condition and without the need for hospitalization. He remains in respiratory isolation and will remain so for the next 14 days." The affected person is in home quarantine. 

The National Health Surveillance Agency (ANSA) works to identify all people who have maintained contact with the affected. The list of passengers who traveled on the same flight was also requested and 16 passengers will be placed under observation, but not in quarantine.

The Minister of Health made it clear that "procedures at airports or blockades in suspicious countries" will not be altered. "There is no technology that can tell us that whoever is inside an airplane may or may not have the virus," he said.

"The world has no borders. They also asked me: 'Why don't they close the borders?' That has no efficacy. This is another flu that humanity will have to go through, "he added. 

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