Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Testing underway for presence of coronavirus; still no cases found

The Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it is testing over 5,000 blood samples from across the country for presence of the coronavirus known as Covid-19.

Government epidemiologists said that the samples tested negative for the seasonal and A/H1N1 strains of the flu, and the results of the Covid-19 tests will be released this week.

In light of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement that the world should prepare itself for a possible pandemic of the virus, the Health Ministry’s epidemiology department said that it would update the country’s response to the international outlook.

“So far we have no intention of joining Italy and other countries in their unnecessary travel warnings, as happened in China,” said José Luis Alomía Zegarra, director of epidemiology for the Ministry of Health.

He added that such decisions “will depend on the evolution or containment of [the virus].”

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell announced on Tuesday that there was still no sign of Covid-19 in the country.

“The coronavirus has not arrived in Mexico. We have [investigated] 18 suspicious cases and each and every one of them has been ruled out,” he told reporters at the president’s morning press conference.

He said that the Pan American Health Organization recognized Mexico as the first country to adopt a protection protocol after Monday’s announcement to test the samples that came up negative for other strains of the flu.

“And we’re constantly looking for new alternatives to make this protocol more efficient. It’s a general sampling. We received over 5,000 samples of all of the acute respiratory diseases [in the country],” he said, adding that so far results have come up negative.

To date, cases of Covid-19 have been reported in 29 countries outside of China. The number of cases and deaths is expected to rise, considering that the original source of the disease is still unknown and cases of person-to-person transmission have been documented.

More information is needed to determine the incubation period of the virus and whether or not transmission can occur from asymptomatic people.

The WHO reports that the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, fatigue and a dry cough. Some patients experience general malaise, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea.

Patients have recuperated without any specific treatment in as many as 85% of cases, but those who experience difficulty breathing require specialized treatment. The most at-risk people are the elderly with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-existing heart disease.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 81,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, and at least 2,700 people have died. Tuesday’s figures revealed that for the first time there were more new cases outside China than inside. Chinese officials reported 411 new infections. In the rest of the world there were 427.

Sources: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp), New York Times (en)

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