Covid-19 reaches Venezuela, Caymans; Brazil locks down cruise ship

Miami Desk, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- Venezuela and the Cayman Islands on Friday reported their first infections with the coronavirus, while authorities in Brazil placed a cruise ship on lockdown after a passenger developed possible symptoms of the Covid-19 illness caused by the virus.

Two Venezuelans who recently returned from Spain tested positive for the virus and were being treated in isolation as officials began the process of tracing their contacts, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on television.

She then appealed for anyone who arrived in Caracas from Madrid aboard Iberia flights on March 5 and March 8 – which carried the two people with confirmed infections – to enter quarantine.

On Thursday, President Nicolas Maduro ordered a month-long halt to incoming passenger flights from Europe and Colombia.

Rodriguez said that educational institutions will close next Monday, promising that students will be able to continue their studies via distance-learning.

The Cayman Islands announced its first Covid-19 patient, a 68-year-old Italian man evacuated from a cruise ship suffering from coronary distress.

The Caribbean Princess skipped a scheduled port call in Grand Cayman, but people with health problems were brought ashore, Prime Minister Alden McLaughlin said.

A total of six passengers from the ship were tested, the prime minister. The Italian man was found to be infected, but four others tested negative and the results from the sixth passenger were pending.

McLaughlin said his government planned to close schools and bar entry by travelers from specific countries.

The Health Ministry in nearby Jamaica said Friday that the number of Covid-19 cases stood at eight four days after the first infection was detected.

Coronavirus is also present in Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Health authorities in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco said Friday that they had imposed a quarantine on the 609 passengers and crew aboard a cruise ship anchored in Recife harbor after one of the travelers displayed possible symptoms of Covid-19.

The person in question, a 78-year-old Canadian man, sought medical attention after disembarking on Thursday. Doctors put him in isolation and alerted public health officials.

The physicians are awaiting test results, state Health Secretary Andre Longo said.

Brazil has more than 140 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and has roughly 1,000 other people under observation.

Staying in Brazil, the federal government said Friday that President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for the coronavirus three days after returning from an overseas trip on which he was accompanied by an aide since diagnosed with Covid-19.

Fabio Wajngarten, a presidential spokesman, was part of the delegation for Bolsonaro’s trip to Florida, which included a stop at US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Wajngarten appears in a group photo with Trump, who has said that he will not get tested. Another person who had contact with Bolsonaro’s aide, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, disclosed Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Several US lawmakers who came into contact with infected people at various events have self-quarantined, as has Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose wife was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Peru’s government said Friday that it had confirmed 28 cases of coronavirus.

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