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Colombia's first COVID-19 death occurred earlier than previously thought: Government

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Bogota, Colombia   /   Fri, June 26, 2020   /   08:40 am
Colombia's first COVID-19 death occurred earlier than previously thought: Government A health worker distributes face masks to locals as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19, at Santa Cruz neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia on May 29, 2020.. (AFP/JOAQUIN SARMIENTO )

Colombia's first confirmed death from COVID-19 occurred in late February, more than a week before the Andean country originally reported its first case of the coronavirus, the government's statistics agency said Thursday.

The country had reported its first case on March 6 and what was thought to be its first death - that of a 58-year-old taxi driver in the Caribbean city of Cartagena - on March 21.

But death figures published by the statistics agency show the first suspected death from COVID-19 occurred on Feb. 15, while the first confirmed death took place Feb. 26.

The country registered 30 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 94 suspected ones in the first quarter, the DANE agency added.

Some 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the quarter occurred in capital city Bogota, while provinces Valle del Cauca and Bolivar accounted for 23% and 10% respectively.

Antioquia province, home to second city Medellin, accounted for 59% of suspected COVID-19 deaths, DANE said.

Many early cases of the disease - including the case originally reported as the country's first - were imported by Colombians or foreigners arriving from Europe or the United States.

Colombia has now reported more than 77,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,491 deaths.

Colombia's economy has been battered by a slump in oil prices and measures implemented by President Ivan Duque to control the spread of the virus. The government expects the economy to contract by 5.5% this year.

Duque declared an ongoing quarantine in late March. While certain restrictions have started lifting, the period of obligatory isolation was extended this week until July 15.