The Ministry of Health reported Tuesday that the Chinese man in a Quito hospital does not have the coronavirus. The ministry said the man, who was in critical condition for six days, has hepatitis B and pneumonia.
According to health minister Catalina Andramuño, the final results of the test sent to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta more than a week ago were delayed due to a backlog of samples. In the future, she said, Ecuador will conduct its own tests for the virus — officially 2019-nCoV – and have quick results. “Under World Health Organization protocol, we were asked to send the first sample to the CDC but this will not happen again and there will be no delay.”
The negative test results mean that South America continues to be free of coronavirus, which has infected more than 20,000 worldwide and killed more than 400. Tests results on suspected cases in Mexico, Panama and Chile have also come back negative.
Andramuño said that her agency is considering possible quarantine procedures for travelers from countries with high infection rates but will work out details with WHO guidance. “We want to be prepared but we don’t want to overreact,” she said.