The patient recently returned from overseas and had been "cooperative" with authorities as soon as they displayed symptoms, the MS said. (Image/CDC)

DILI, 22 March, 2020 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste’s Health Ministry has confirmed the country’s first positive Covid-19 case, after test results arrived back from Australia.

Vice-Minister of Health, Elia dos Reis Amaral confirmed the positive test earlier today. She said the patient – a foreign national – had recently returned from overseas, and remains in isolation with what is described as only “mild” symptoms.

Vice-Minister for Primary Healthcare, Élia dos Reis Amaral (Image/Egas Cristovao)

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson said the department’s Epidemiological Vigilance Intervention team is assessing who the patient may have come into contact with.

“This [patient] is not a big risk to the public because they cooperated with health staff when they became sick with symptoms of Covid-19,” the MS said.

The ministry gave no further details on where the patient is being treated.

Related news: Timorese judge awaits. Covid-19 Test Results

Until today, Timor-Leste was one of the few countries left in the region without a confirmed case of the virus, which has now affected 257,000 people in 176 countries and territories.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced a Timorese judge, who returned from Portugal on March 12, was being assessed for the virus. Her test results are yet to return.

“[We] appeal to all the population to, firstly, not to panic. Secondly, practice personal hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly with soap… and do not hold hands or hug one another when [showing symptoms],” the spokesperson said.

More to come.

Reporters: Robert Baird; Felicidade Ximenes

Editor: Robert Baird

Translation: Nelia Borges

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