This story was updated on Monday, March 2nd at 7:25 a.m.
The Dominican Republic has confirmed its first case of COVID-19, local media reports say.
Health authorities in the Dominican Republic on Sunday (March 1) confirmed its first case of the latest strain of coronavirus in the country, linking it to a tourist visiting from Italy.
The person carrying the virus is a 62-year-old Italian who arrived on the island on Feb. 22nd, Dominican Republic's Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said at a press conference.
According to Dominican Today, the patient was staying at Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, a resort in the town of Bayahibe just east of La Romana, and arrived there without symptoms.
The Italian tourist is now at Ramón de Lara military hospital in San Isidro, a location at the east of Santo Domingo, reports say.
The Viva Resorts chain confirmed the news in a statement issued Sunday:
"The person in question arrived at the hotel without showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) that caught the attention. He subsequently showed a mild to moderate flu picture, and the next day a moderate fever," the statement reads. "...He was immediately isolated from the other guests and collaborators, and the Ministry of Public Health was notified and immediately sent a team specialized in handling these types of cases, took control of the process and decided to transfer the guest to a hospital. Subsequently, the analyzes confirmed that he was a patient with coronavirus."
No other cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the hotel, the chain says.
Viva Resorts added that the Viva Dominicus Beach has since "undergone a deep sanitation process using state-of-the-art special products."
"The health of our guests, today and always, is a priority for this hotel group. We thank the trust of our guests and those related to our ability to handle the situation," the company stated.
Italy has had more than 1,200 cases of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The country has quarantined 11 towns – Lombardy (a region around Milan) and Veneto (which includes Venice) are declared “red zones.”
There is a second suspected tourist, from France, in Dominican Republic who is currently under observation in hospital and awaiting on test results, reports say.
Dominican Republic is a popular vacation spot for Canadians, attracting some 837,000 visitors from Canada in 2017.
The arrival of COVID-19 in the Dominican Republic — a Caribbean nation that shares its borders with Haiti – represents a new chapter in the fight to contain the virus that first originated in Wuhan, China, in December.
Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in more than 58 countries - Canada included - and travel restrictions are becoming the norm.
Ecuador confirmed its first case of the virus on Saturday, while the U.S. announced its first coronavirus-related death that same day.
Ontario and B.C. also confirmed new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing Canada's total to 24.
COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, preparing communities for what could be a global pandemic.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded its global risk assessment of COVID-19 to ‘very high.'
Airports have implemented preventive measures, while major industry events that were supposed to take place in the coming weeks have been postponed, notably ITB Berlin and Virtuoso's 2020 Symposium in Vienna.
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