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07 Mar 2020 | 06:43 PM UTC

Brazil: Health officials confirm 19 COVID-19 cases as of March 7 /update 3

Brazilian health officials confirm 19 COVID-19 cases nationwide as of March 7; further spread of the virus expected

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Event

Brazil’s Ministry of Health reported on Saturday, March 7, that 19 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed nationwide. Cases have been confirmed in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Bahia. Another 674 suspected cases are still being tested as of Saturday.

Enhanced screening measures are in place for travelers arriving from countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. Individuals arriving from those regions displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be classified as a suspected case and tested for the virus. Additional health care workers are also being deployed to areas with the highest risk of transmission to assist in identifying and treating cases.

Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.