Central America confirms first cases of COVID-19

Costa Rica confirmed Central America’s first case of coronavirus on 6 March in a 49-year-old female tourist from the US. At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Costa Rica has risen to 22. Panama has recorded eight cases of the virus, including one death – the first in Central America. The first patient was a 40-year-old Panamanian woman diagnosed with a mild case of the virus having recently returned to Panama from Madrid. It is reported that she was not screened for the virus on arrival at Tocumen International Airport because Spain was not at that point listed for testing. Authorities are tracking down passengers who were on the patient’s Iberia flight from Madrid. Honduras is the third country in the region to confirm cases of the virus. Its two reported cases are in Honduran women who had recently returned to Tegucigalpa from Spain and to San Pedro Sula from Switzerland.

At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Nicaragua. The region continues to strengthen precautionary measures, including implementing travel bans and restrictions on public gatherings. El Salvador has banned all foreigners aside from permanent residents and diplomats from entering the country for least the next month. Concerns have been raised over the potential for a new Honduran migrant caravan to spread COVID-19. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has warned that migrants arriving at the border will be screened thoroughly for the virus before they are allowed to enter Guatemala.

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