Ecuador confirms its first case of new coronavirus

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador has confirmed the first case of a fast-spreading new coronavirus in the Andean country, its health minister said on Saturday.

The patient is an elderly female Ecuadorean residing in Spain, Catalina Andramuño, the health minister, told reporters. The patient arrived in Ecuador on Feb. 14 on a direct flight from Madrid without showing any symptoms, but soon felt ill and went to a hospital where she was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“The patient is currently in intensive care at one of the hospitals we had designated to attend to coronavirus,” Andramuño said, adding that the government was monitoring people who may have come into contact with the patient.

Brazil earlier this week confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in Latin America. The virus has infected more than 82,000 people and killed about 2,800, mostly in China, according to the World Health Organization.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Paul Simao