Colombia became the first country in Latin America with the ability to conduct its own diagnostic tests for the coronavirus the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) and the National Institute of Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud – INS) announced Tuesday.
According to Iván Darío González, Minister of Health, Colombia is the first country in Latin America to consolidate these tests, which is a positive result for the sake of preparing for the virus, which according to the World Organization of the Health (WHO) that reports 20,647 cases in 25 countries around the world.
Colombia has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus but has examined 50 domestic and foreign travelers in the last five days.
Testing capabilities mean that local authorities will not need to send samples of potentially infected people to the United States.
“It’s great news. We are the first country in Latin America to be able to perform local diagnostic tests of the new coronavirus and, if necessary, provide support to other countries as the World Health Organization has urged us,” said González.
For her part, Martha Ospina, director of the INS, said the goal was to test for the coronavirus 2019 in Colombia, which avoids sending the samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, as was the first evidence of suspicious cases, which were eventually ruled out.
“We did the standardization test fulfilling all the requirements demanded by WHO / PAHO and our rating was 100 out of 100. This means that as of today Colombia has the diagnostic tests for coronavirus 2019 in operation,” said the director of the INS.
Similarly, the minister said that “this is complemented by the work we have been doing for three weeks with the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Transportation to work together with Migration Colombia, Civil Aeronautics, Dimar and the airlines, in order to control and set the protocols to be all on the same page. In addition, at the instruction of President Iván Duque, we installed a unified command post that will meet weekly.”
The minister González said that to date there are no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the country and that the risk remains low, “although it is not zero.”
Between July 2019 and January this year, 11,584 Chinese citizens entered Colombia and 11,548 left the country, Espinosa said.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that were discovered in the 1960s but whose origin is still unknown. Its different types cause several diseases, from a cold to a severe respiratory syndrome or pneumonia.
The symptoms of coronavirus, which is transmitted among humans, are runny nose and runny nose, cough, sore throat and headache, fever, chills, and malaise, as well as difficulty breathing or dyspnea.