Colombia, first in Latin America with diagnostic test for coronavirus

Colombia is the first country in Latin America to have diagnostic tests for the new coronavirus and may have confirmation of cases in eight hours without sending the samples to the United States, health authorities said Tuesday.

The Minister of Health, Iván González, said that Colombia is able, if necessary, to "support other countries", as the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged.

The director of the National Institute of Health (INS), Martha Ospina, explained that being trained to do the diagnostic tests of the disease avoids sending the samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in English), in the United States.

He explained that the health authorities made the standardization to detect the virus in compliance with the requirements demanded by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Finally, Minister González confirmed that to date there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country and that the risk remains low, although it is not zero.

In the absence of diagnostic tests, Ecuador, for example, sent to the Center for the Control and Prevention of CDC Diseases in Atlanta (USA) the examinations of the first suspected case of coronavirus that is presented for processing and evaluation.

The outbreak, called 2019-nCoV provisionally by WHO, has caused at least 426 deaths in mainland China and more than 20,000 infected, in addition to cases detected in other countries.

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that now the priority is to contain the coronavirus in China, its epicenter, so that the spread outside this country is minimal, slow and controllable.

"If we invest in fighting at the epicenter, at the source, then the spread to other countries is minimal and also slow. If it is minimal and slow, what comes out can also be easily controlled," said Tedros.


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