Puerto Rico Announces Its First Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Mar 14, 2020
12:27 PM

Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vázquez speaks to the press, Friday March 14, 2020, in San Juan. (Photo by La Fortaleza)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tests have confirmed three cases of the new coronavirus in Puerto Rico, the first for the U.S. territory, Gov. Wanda Vázquez said Friday night.

She also announced that the public school system would close for 14 days and that no cruise ships or the ferry from the Dominican Republic would be allowed to dock.

Vázquez said one of the cases involved a local man who had relatives who traveled off the island and the other two are tourists from northern Italy, which is at the center of a major outbreak of COVID-19 disease in that nation.

Even before the announcement, several events including concerts and a circus performance had been canceled on the island due to worries about the virus, which has spread around the world. The University of Puerto Rico and some private colleges canceled classes.

Officials said the first case was a 68-year-old Italian woman who arrived Sunday on the Costa Luminosa cruise ship and had symptoms consistent with the virus. She was taken to a hospital in San Juan and a test confirmed she is infected with coronavirus.

Her 70-year-old husband also was found to be infected.

The third confirmed patient is a 71-year-old local man who was test after being hospitalized with a cough, fever and shortness of breath.

The vast majority of people infected with the coronavirus recover, and most have only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.