Brazil confirms coronavirus case, the first in Latin America

BRASILIA (BLOOMBERG) – Brazil has confirmed the first coronavirus case in Latin America and will announce it shortly at a press conference, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

A 61-year-old Brazilian who recently travelled to Northern Italy for work tested positive in a preliminary test, the Health Ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday evening (Feb 25).

A second round of tests have confirmed the diagnosis, said the person, who is not authorised to speak publicly ahead of the press conference.

While dozens of people have been tested from Mexico to Brazil with similar symptoms, this marks the first case in Latin America.

Vast swathes of the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, stretching from Milan to Venice, remain in a virtual lockdown and the worldwide death toll has climbed to 2,769 with 81,170 confirmed cases.

The person lives in Sao Paulo, which has the largest urban population in the Americas, with about 20 million people in the greater metropolitan area.

The Brazilian megacity is also the home to the country’s financial industry and a business hub with the greatest concentration of multi-national companies and executives.

The news comes at the end of the long weekend for Carnival celebrations which are wildly popular and which bring hundreds of thousands of people together on the streets.

Local media Folha de S. Paulo and O Estado de S. Paulo reported the confirmed case earlier.

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