Cuba, Bolivia and Honduras confirmed on Wednesday the first cases of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) on their soil, bringing the number of Latin American countries where the potentially deadly virus has emerged to more than a dozen.
According to the Cuban Ministry of Health, three among the four Italian tourists from the Italian region of Lombardy — Europe’s region the most affected by the virus —who were showing respiratory symptoms, tested positive. They had recently arrived in the country, and their condition appears to be “favourable.”
Before that, the Bolivian health authorities announced that two women aged 60 and 64, who both had recently travelled to Italy, were infected. They were isolated in the cities of Oruro and Santa Cruz.
Finally, in Honduras, the Ministry of Health indicated that two women, aged 42 and 37, had tested positive after returning respectively from Spain and Switzerland. The first, in stable condition, is hospitalized, while the youngest is in solitary confinement in her home.
El Salvador, which has not (yet) confirmed positive cases at this stage but which shares a 250-kilometre border with Honduras, has imposed a 21-day quarantine in the country. No foreigners may enter the country, unless they are a resident or a diplomat. All schools are closed during the quarantine period and gatherings of more than 500 people are prohibited.
In Guatemala, nationals from neighbouring countries, as well as Europeans, Chinese, Koreans and Iranians, are no longer allowed to enter the country; local nationals who return from abroad must be isolated for seven days.
The decision comes as Panama confirmed eleven positive cases on its soil, and that one of them has died: a person of 64 who already suffered from diabetes and pneumonia.
This is the second death related to the coronavirus in Latin America after the one recorded in Argentina last week.
The virus has now reached a dozen countries of this region of the world, with Brazil leading with 52 cases, ahead of Chile (23).
In the overseas French islands, at least ten contamination cases have been identified: five in Guyana, three in Martinique and two in St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
Finally, Jamaica has reported two positive cases.
Since the beginning of the epidemic in December in China, more than 120,000 people have been infected in around 100 countries, and 4,300 of them have passed away, according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO)