Several South American countries report coronavirus disease cases in select areas since late February. Maintain basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Paraguay
  • Peru

This alert began 11 Mar 2020 16:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Select locations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru (map)
  • Period: February-March 2020

Summary
Several South American countries have identified imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Test results are pending in additional suspected cases, some of which will likely be confirmed. As of March 11, confirmed cases were reported in the following areas:

  • Argentina: 12 cases primarily in Buenos Aires.
  • Bolivia: 2 cases in the departments of Oruro and Santa Cruz.
  • Brazil: 25 cases in Sao Paulo.
  • Chile: 13 cases in San Javier, Maule Region.
  • Colombia: 3 cases in Bogota.
  • Ecuador: 15 cases in Guayaquil.
  • Paraguay: 1 case in Asuncion.
  • Peru: 9 cases in Lima and Arequipa.



Background and Analysis
Health authorities expect imported cases of COVID-19 as disease surveillance continues globally. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

US CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers

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