The Brazilian government has confirmed the first case of the wide-spreading new deadly coronavirus in Latin America. According to officials from the Brazil Health Ministry, the case was confirmed on Wednesday, after a Sao Paulo hospital flagged the possible infection of a 61-year-old who had visited Italy.
The diagnosis comes during Brazil’s carnival holiday, a peak time for domestic travel when millions of revelers throng to major cities for raucous street celebrations. Secretary of State for Health of Sao Paulo Jose Henrique Ferreira said the 61-year-old patient who returned recently from Italy is well and in family isolation at home.
“The test, however, was carried out by the Adolfo Lutz institute gave a positive result. It is in this connection that Brazil recorded its first confirmed case of the disease,” Health Minister Henrique Mandetta told a news conference alongside other officials on Wednesday.
“From now, we are going to see how this virus will behave in the southern hemisphere, in the situation of a tropical country, in the middle of summer. What will the pattern of behavior be? It is a new virus,” Mandetta emphasized.
“As soon as the symptoms are over, he will stop being in an isolated patient situation and return to his normal life,” Ferreira added.
Presently, Brazil has one confirmed coronavirus case, while tracking 20 more suspected cases and 59 discharged patients who tested negative for the virus, according to the health ministry.
Italy has been hardest hit by the outbreak in Europe, with more than 350 cases reported and 11 deaths.
The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has infected 81,280 people with 2,770 already dead so far.
Outside China, where the virus broke out from, the coronavirus has spread to more than 30 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, Iran, Italy, South Korea and India.