Covid-19 outbreak worsens in Latin America as Argentina, Ecuador report deaths
Venezuela, Uruguay, Guatemala and Suriname reported their first cases of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall cases in the region have more than doubled in the last two days to over 340 as the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) warned governments on Thursday to prepare their health services to cope.
Several Latin American countries have tightened restrictions on travel links with Europe, from where many people in the region are descended and still have family.
A 61-year-old Argentine man who returned from Italy on Feb 24 and had previously suffered from pneumonia died of “respiratory failure,” the Chaco provincial health ministry said in a statement.
taly is the worst affected country outside of China, where the virus originated, and has recorded more than 15,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.
Argentina reported the first Latin American coronavirus death on March 7.
In Ecuador, a 71-year-old woman who had travelled to Spain died of a “severe respiratory failure,” Health Minister Catalina Andramuno said.
The woman was also the first person in Ecuador to have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 disease.
Following earlier press reports that he had contracted the virus, Brazil’s far-right populist leader Jair Bolsonaro posted a message to his Facebook page saying he had tested negative.
“Don’t believe in the fake news media!” he wrote alongside a picture of him performing an obscene gesture.
Bolsonaro was tested after his communications chief, Fabio Wajngarten, contracted the virus following a trip to the United States in which both men had met US President Donald Trump.
Venezuela announced its first two coronavirus cases: a 41-year-old who had visited the US, Italy and Spain, and a 52-year-old who visited Spain.
Both had returned from Madrid on an Iberian airways flight to Caracas that flies three times a week.
Authorities ordered everyone on that route between March 2-5 into “immediate obligatory preventative quarantine.”