SANTIAGO, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Chilean health authorities on Tuesday announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country.

The case involves a 33-year-old man in the city of Talca in central Chile's Maule region who recently traveled extensively through Asia and returned via Europe, according to the Institute of Public Health (ISP).

The patient "was traveling for an extended period of time, almost a month, in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives, Spain and then returned to Chile," Alfredo Donoso, head of the Talca Hospital, told reporters.

"He returned Feb. 25 and on March 1 began to have respiratory symptoms," said Donoso, adding the proper steps were taken to treat the patient after he tested positive for COVID-19.