(Bloomberg) — A 35-year-old man was confirmed as the first coronavirus case in Mexico, the country’s deputy health minister said on Friday. A second case was verified by a state health official.
The first patient has a mild case and has been put in quarantine along with family members in the country’s Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference for further testing, deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said at the National Palace.
The man is a resident of Mexico City who took a trip to Italy in February. The case is Mexico’s first, and the second known instance in Latin America after Brazil confirmed a case on Wednesday.
“We have the capacity to deal with the situation,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at his morning press conference.
The man traveled to Bergamo, Italy, for a conference, where he had direct contact with an infected Italian national who normally lives in Malaysia.
The second case, in the northern border state of Sinaloa, is a 41-year-old man who also traveled to Italy, said Efren Encinas Torres, the state’s health minister in an interview on Radio Formula. That patient is in isolation, as is a colleague he traveled with, who has not presented any symptoms.
Local health officials sent details to the national agency for confirmation.
“We see the state laboratory’s confirmation as valid, but nevertheless we will verify it in our own laboratory,” Lopez-Gatell said.
Separately, Lopez-Gatell said that a cruise ship that had been stopped in Cozumel on suspicion of possible infection had no cases aboard and that passengers would be allowed to disembark.
Worldwide, more than 83,000 cases have been confirmed and deaths from the virus have topped 2,800 people. On Friday, Iran, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the U.K. all reported new infections. Nigeria confirmed the first infection south of the Sahara desert.
The Mexican peso fell 0.7% to end the day at 19.6437 per dollar, its weakest close since October 2019. Mexico’s benchmark Mexbol stock index plunged 2.6% after the coronavirus news.
(Adds details about second case in lead and sixth paragraph. A previous version added case details, worldwide numbers and stock move.)
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