Latin America & Caribbean

Coronavirus: Ecuador reports five new cases

A passenger wears a protective mask at Mariscal Sucre International Airport, regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus worldwide, in Quito, on March 1, 2020. Image copyright AFP

Ecuador has confirmed five additional cases of the new coronavirus, health minister Catalina Andramuño said.

The announcement brings the total number of infected patients in the country to six.

The five people newly infected with the virus had all had direct contact with an elderly woman who was the first to be diagnosed in the country.

The woman - an Ecuadorean citizen who lives in Spain - flew to Ecuador from Madrid without presenting symptoms.

She started to feel ill shortly after her arrival and was sent to one of the public hospitals equipped to deal with the virus.

The five people had "mild symptoms", said Ms Andramuño, adding that a further 177 people who may have come into contact with her were being monitored by authorities.

The elderly woman remains in a critical condition, in quarantine and under observation.

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Security official Franklin Bajaña said that the five people were in quarantine at home, according to the InfoBae website. This treatment plan would continue while their symptoms remained mild, he added.

Elsewhere in Latin America, five cases have been confirmed in Mexico, and two in Brazil.

Worldwide, there have been almost 90,000 confirmed cases, with the numbers outside China growing faster than inside China.

In other developments:

  • In the UK, where there are 36 confirmed cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called an emergency Cobra committee on Monday
  • Indonesia has announced its first confirmed cases of coronavirus, a 64-year-old woman and her 31-year-old daughter, currently being treated at a Jakarta hospital
  • Stock markets have rallied following promises of action from central banks. Concerns about the outbreak last week wiped more than $5tn (£3.9tn) from global stocks.
  • US sportswear giant Nike has closed its European headquarters in Hilversum city in the Netherlands after an employee tested positive for the virus

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