American tourist is first coronavirus case in Bhutan

American tourist is first coronavirus case in Bhutan
© Getty

An American tourist became the first person to test positive for coronavirus in Bhutan, the nation’s health ministry announced Friday.

The patient is a 76-year-old man who entered the South Asian country on March 2 of this year and had previously been in India since Feb. 21. The man started his journey in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 18 with his 59-year-old partner. 

He began to fall ill in Thimphu, Bhutan, citing symptoms of nausea and bloating, though he didn’t show any flu symptoms until the next day. The patient was receiving treatment for chronic hypertension. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The man was allowed to leave the medical facility, but when his test returned positive, he was quarantined in a local hospital. Since early Friday morning more than 90 contacts have been traced to the man. As a result, the Bhutanese government is imposing a two-week restriction on all incoming tourists effective immediately.

As of Friday morning, there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the virus globally, according to John HopkinsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that older patients are the most vulnerable to the disease.

As of Thursday, officials in 18 U.S. states had reported cases of the coronavirus and the outbreak had sickened well over 100 people in the United States. Public health officials have said they expect more cases within the U.S.

The news comes nearly a week after Trump administration announced travel restrictions and advisories in the countries hardest hit by the virus, such as Iran, China and Italy.