(Bloomberg) -- Health officials confirmed three coronavirus cases in Mexico, all with mild symptoms and likely from the same source, according to remarks from a press conference late Friday.
The first patient whose case was confirmed, a 35-year-old man, has been put in quarantine along with family members in the country’s Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference for further testing, deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said at the National Palace in a morning press conference.
The man is a resident of Mexico City who took a trip to Italy in February. His case was the first confirmed in Mexico, and the second known instance in Latin America after Brazil confirmed a case on Wednesday.
“We have the capacity to deal with the situation,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at the morning press conference.
The man traveled to Bergamo, Italy, for a conference, where he had direct contact with an infected Italian national who normally lives in Malaysia.
The second case, in the northern state of Sinaloa, is a 41-year-old man who also traveled to Italy, said Efren Encinas Torres, the state’s health minister in an interview on Radio Formula. That patient is in isolation, as is a colleague he traveled with, who has not presented any symptoms.
Local health officials sent details to the national agency for confirmation.
Health officials confirmed a third case, a 59-year-old man who’s also in Mexico City. All three patients likely contracted the virus from the same source, said Health Ministry official Jose Luis Alomia in a press conference Friday night. Lopez-Gatell said Mexico’s plan is to prepare for small outbreaks in communities over a prolonged period that could last many months.
Separately, Lopez-Gatell said that a cruise ship that had been stopped in Cozumel on suspicion of possible infection had no cases aboard and that passengers would be allowed to disembark.
Worldwide, more than 83,000 cases have been confirmed and deaths from the virus have topped 2,800 people. On Friday, Iran, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the U.K. all reported new infections. Nigeria confirmed the first infection south of the Sahara desert.
The Mexican peso fell 0.7% to end the day at 19.6437 per dollar, its weakest close since October 2019. Mexico’s benchmark Mexbol stock index plunged 2.6% after the coronavirus news.
(Adds details about third case. A previous version updated with information about the second case.)
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