A 61-year-old man who traveled to Italy earlier this month is the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in Latin America, Brazil’s government confirmed on Wednesday.
“We will now see how this virus behaves in a tropical country in the middle of summer, how its behavior pattern will be,” Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said in a press conference.
The Brazilian man, a resident of Sao Paulo, spent two weeks from February 9 to 21 in northern Italy on a work trip, where he contracted the contagious virus, the health ministry said.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in China, in Latin America, only Brazil and Colombia in the region have registered dozens of suspected cases.
— Ministério da Saúde (@minsaude) February 26, 2020
At the moment, Brazil has ruled out 55 suspected cases and 4 remain under analysis, while Colombia has ruled out 13 suspected cases.
According to Brazil’s Health Ministry, the man began to show symptoms, such as a dry cough, throat pain and flu symptoms.
Brazil’s national health agency Anvisa says it has been working to map all contact the man had with other people in the hospital, at home, and on the plane returning to Brazil.
Italy scrambles to contain coronavirus
Lombardy is the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy, whose main city is Milan. The country has confirmed the 12th death of a patient from coronavirus – nine of those who have died in Lombardy – whilst on Wednesday the number of overall cases rose to 378 up from just 6 last Friday.