The coronavirus has made its first appearance in Mexico, Mexican health authorities confirmed Friday (Feb. 28).
One of the cases is a 35-year-old man who recently travelled to Italy, officials report.
The man is currently being held in isolation at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases in Mexico City.
A second potential case is a 41-year-old man who also recently travelled to Italy. He is currently in isolation at a hotel in the northwest state of Sinaloa, reports say.
Officials have emphasized that the situation is under control, urging the public not to panic.
“We are prepared to confront this situation of coronavirus,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday at a morning news conference, as reported by the LA Times. “We have the doctors, the specialists, the hospitals, the capacity to face this.”
The revelation comes two days after the first confirmed case of coronavirus appeared in Latin America — a 61-year-old man in Brazil, who had also recently returned from a trip to Italy.
The coronavirus outbreak worldwide has reached a "decisive point" and has "pandemic potential,” World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said Friday.
Italy, where 17 people have died from the virus, has quarantined 11 towns – Lombardy (the region around Milan) and Veneto (which includes Venice) are declared “red zones.”
These regions are home to around 55,000 people.
Italy is just one of many countries currently experiencing an outbreak of COVOID-19, which first originated in Wuhan, China.
In a statement issued Friday, the Italian Tourist Board said the Italian Government is monitoring and putting controls in place to prevent the spreading of the virus.
"The adoption of extraordinary preventive actions, such as the temporary closure of several sites or the suspension of several events, represents cautionary measures which have nothing to do with the spreading of the virus throughout the Italian territory," the Italian Tourist Board stated in a release.
The tourism board added: "The remainder of the country, including the Italian regions where the cities in temporary isolation are located, is safe and accessible. All services and activities for citizens and tourists are normally provided and the quality of life, for which Italy is famous world-wide, remains high."
Five other people in Mexico who had contact with the man who was confirmed to have COVOID-19 are currently under analysis, Dr. Hugo López-Gatell, the country’s subsecretary of health, told reporters Friday.
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