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COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador

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COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Ecuador.svg
  10-99 Confirmed cases reported
  100-999 Confirmed cases reported
  1,000-9,999 Confirmed cases reported
  Over 10,000 Confirmed cases reported
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
First caseGuayaquil
Arrival date14 February 2020
(1 year, 2 weeks and 6 days)
Confirmed 29 February 2020
(1 year and 6 days)
Confirmed cases63,245[1]
4,873[1] (+3,247 suspected deaths)[2][note 1]
Official website

The COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was reported to have spread to Ecuador on 29 February 2020 when a woman in her 70s tested positive for the virus. Ecuador was described in April as emerging as a possible "epicentre" of the pandemic in Latin America,[3] with the city of Guayaquil overwhelmed to the point where bodies were being left in the street.[4] However, the country has now been eclipsed in number of confirmed cases by those of Brazil, Peru, and Chile.[citation needed]

As of April 2020, Ecuador has been distributing cardboard coffins due to the country's struggle in evacuating the dead bodies.[5][6] The government built emergency cemeteries to dispose of the bodies which are left in the streets.[7] The pandemic which led to a fall in oil prices had severe economic repercussions for the country.[8]

The number of deaths is believed to be significantly higher than the official figure due to a low rate of testing, with many thousands of excess deaths reported compared to the equivalent figure for a normal period.[9][10] A New York Times analysis found 7,600 excess deaths had occurred from 1 March to 15 April as the mortality rate spiked to three times as much as usual, indicating that the official death toll is an underestimate by more than an order of magnitude.[11] On May 14, 2020, 40 protestors were peacefully protesting against the government for improper handling of the bodies of people who died due to COVID-19 and providing insufficient funds for the pandemic. The police charged on the demonstrators and injured them in the act.[12]

Current number of cases by provinces[edit source | edit]

Provinces [13] Confirmed Cases Confirmed Deaths [14]
Rapid Test 8,956
Template:Country data Azuay 2,011 69
Template:Country data Bolívar, Ecuador 781 41
Template:Country data Cañar 566 45
Template:Country data Carchi 382 19
Template:Country data Chimborazo 868 162
Template:Country data Cotopaxi 1,285 131
Template:Country data El Oro 2,192 282
Template:Country data Esmeraldas 2,240 150
Template:Country data Galápagos 100 1
Template:Country data Guayas 16,176 1,625
Template:Country data Imbabura 739 45
Template:Country data Loja 1,152 52
Template:Country data Los Ríos 2,472 277
Template:Country data Manabí 4,798 648
Template:Country data Morona Santiago 1,090 12
Template:Country data Napo 660 37
Template:Country data Orellana 841 24
Template:Country data Pastaza 899 31
Template:Country data Pichincha 9,191 563
Template:Country data Santa Elena 969 326
Template:Country data Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas 2,407 160
Template:Country data Sucumbíos 527 22
Template:Country data Tungurahua 1,259 122
Template:Country data Zamora Chinchipe 642 24
 Ecuador 63,245 4,873

Background[edit source | edit]

On 12 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[15][16]

Unlike SARS of 2003, the case fatality ratio for COVID-19 [17][18] has been much lower, but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[19][17]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Ecuador medical cases chart

The following section includes all the daily reports published by national media, communicating the updates of the new confirmed cases from the Ministry of Health or the INSPI (Instituto Nacional de Investigación en Salud Pública, in English National Public Health Research Institute).[citation needed]

February 2020[edit source | edit]

On 29 February, the Minister of Public Health in Ecuador, Catalina Andramuño, confirmed the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the country.[20] The patient was a woman in her 70s and an Ecuadorian citizen who resided in Spain. She arrived in Guayaquil on 14 February.[20] According to Andramuño, she had no symptoms when she arrived in the country. Following her arrival, she began experiencing symptoms including a fever and mild muscle pain. She was taken to a healthcare facility in serious condition and with reserved prognosis. Further details about the woman and the hospital where she is located were not disclosed due to security measures. Also, 80 people who had contact with the infected woman were put under observation.[21][22]

March 2020[edit source | edit]

On 1 March, Andramuño announced that 5 new cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in Ecuador.[23] On 4 March 3 new cases were announced by the Ministry of Health.[24] The last report, according to the INSPI (Instituto Nacional de Investigación en Salud Pública, in English National Public Health Research Institute), confirmed a total of 14 positive cases.[25]

On 8 March, the Ministry of Health in Ecuador announced through social media a new case of the coronavirus in the country. According to the statement, the patient became infected from contact with the first case confirmed in the region. At this time there were 15 confirmed cases in the country.[26]

On 10 March, the Ministry of Health in Ecuador announced 2 new cases of the coronavirus in the country. These cases are in the provinces of Guayas and Los Ríos. One of the cases is related to the first case in the country, and the other is related to the first case in Paraguay.[27]

As of 13 March, 23 cases had been confirmed by the Government.[28] There were cases reported in Pichincha (5), Guayas (8), and Los Rios(10). The Government suspended class attendance for students at all levels. Additionally, the first death (the first Ecuadorian infection case) was reported by the Minister of Public Health, Catalina Andramuño, during a press conference in Guayaquil.[29]

On 14 March, Ecuador's government announced the closure of its borders from 15 March to all foreign travelers due to the spread of the coronavirus, after local authorities confirmed a second death from the infection. Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner, in a televised statement, said all aerial, land and maritime transport into the Andean country will be prohibited. Ecuadorian citizens and foreigners with Ecuadorean residency had until the end of 16 March to return, he said. Ecuador at this point had confirmed 28 cases of the coronavirus, including two deaths, and authorities banned all public activities.[30]

President of the National Assembly of Ecuador César Litardo meeting with Minister of Health Catalina Andramuño who resigned a few days later

On 15 March, 37 cases had been confirmed by the Government. Guayas had 19 cases, Los Rios 10 cases, Pichincha 6 cases, Sucumbios 1 case and Azuay 1 case.[31] Citizens of Ecuador, El Salvador, Perú, and Chile were stranded at Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City on 16 March because of the virus.[32] 58 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in Ecuador, including a new case in Manta, Manabi. Guayas Province had 38 infected, Los Ríos Province 10 infected, Pichincha Province 7 infected, Sucumbíos Province 1 case, Azuay Province 1 infected, and Manabi 1 case.[33]

On the morning of 17 March, the Ecuadorian government confirmed a total of 111 positive cases.[34] The following day the Ecuadorian government confirmed a total of 155 positive cases.[35] increased to 168 positive cases in the afternoon.[36] The number of confirmed cases increased daily,[37] by the morning of 20 March, the number of confirmed cases had increased to 367, with 582 suspected cases, 5 deaths and 4 recoveries.[38]

On 21 March, the government confirmed 532 positive cases, 870 suspected cases, 7 deaths and 3 recovered.[39] On that day the Ecuador's Minister of Public Health Catalina Andramuño resigned; in her letter of resignation she said that the government had not allocated any additional budget to her ministry for the COVID-19 emergency.[40] She was replaced by Dr. Juan Carlos Zevallos.[41]

On 23 March, the Ecuadorian government reported 981 confirmed cases and 18 deaths.[42] On 24 March, the Ecuadorian police moved to dismantle open markets to limit large groups of people coming together.[43] On the afternoon of 30 March, the new Minister of Public Health of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Zevallos announced that 54 people had recovered.[44]

April 2020[edit source | edit]

Number of cases (blue) and number of deaths (red) on a logarithmic scale.

By early April, the health system in Guayas Province was overwhelmed, and many of Ecuador's COVID-19 deaths were reported there. Corpses were abandoned on the street as local funeral homes were incapable of handling so much work.[45].

On 2 April president Lenín Moreno said that the government was building a "special camp" for the victims of the coronavirus in Guayaquil.[46] Two-thirds of COVID-19 cases of Ecuador were reported to be in Guayaquil and its surrounding areas, and local authorities have ordered cardboard coffins, and said that a new cemetery would be opened and freezer units would be used to store the corpses.[47]

Data emerged on 17 April suggesting that the number of death due to COVID-19 may be much higher than that officially reported – 10,939 people had died in six weeks since the start of March in the Guayas province, compared to a normal figure of 3,000 for the region,[9] with nearly 6,000 more deaths than average reported in Guayaquil in the first two weeks of April alone.[10] Both the Interior Minister María Paula Romo and President Lenín Moreno admitted that the official numbers for COVID-19 were too low due to insufficient testing.[48]

On 21 April, the government announced plans to restart its economy as well as allowing flights home for its citizens abroad, although controls on education and transport and the ban of large gatherings of people remained.[49]

On 23 April, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos doubled the number of confirmed cases, adding 11,000 new infections to the previous total of 11,183 infections. The doubling of cases was the result of delayed testing of patients.[50]

It has been estimated that there were over 9,000 excess deaths in Guyaquil in the months of March and April. The chaotic conditions in hospitals had led to misidentification of the deceased with many bodies of the dead going missing.[51][52]

May 2020[edit source | edit]

On 4 May, the number of confirmed cases had reached over 30,000, with 31,881 cases reported, 1,569 reported deaths and a further 1,336 possible deaths caused by the virus.[53]

By 15 May, the situation in Guayaquil appeared to have stabilized, although it still had 55% of the total 31,467 cases in Ecuador. However, increasing numbers in Quito were reported, with 2,400 coronavirus cases and 181 deaths registered in the Pichincha Province.[54]

The Financial Times estimated that that between January and mid-May, there were over 19,200 excess deaths in Ecuador, 12,000 of which were from Guayaquil alone.[8]

June 2020[edit source | edit]

On 2 June, Ecuador reached a total of 40,414 cases. On 11 June, it reached 45,082. For the first two weeks of June, the official records show an average of about 500+ new cases a day, implying Ecuador will reach 50,000 cases around 20-21 June.[citation needed]

On 13 June, a major laboratory involved in testing for coronavirus was forced to close and stop its tests due to a lack of basic lab equipment.[55]

Economic impact[edit source | edit]

The government is paying informal workers $60 per month to stay at home. An estimated 500,000 Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador are especially vulnerable because they do not have access to the stimulus payments.[56] The country was already in economic difficulties before the pandemic, but the coronavirus outbreak and fall in oil prices during the pandemic had led to severe economic problems in the country. All government officials and teachers had been asked to take a pay cut, a number of national companies such as the national airline TAME were liquidated, and Ecuador was unable to pay its foreign debt. The budget deficit for 2020 is expected to be at least $12bn, which is about 11 per cent of Ecuador's gross domestic product.[8] Government announcement of cuts has led to protests by demonstrators.[57]

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. Suspected are bodies that were recovered by authorities from homes with knowledge of presenting the same symptoms of COVID-19, amid a reported breaking point in Hospitals and Morgues [1] [2]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Actualización de casos de coronavirus en Ecuador". Ministerio de Salud Pública. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  2. "Casos de coronavirus en Ecuador: miércoles 27 de mayo: 38103 contagiados, 3275 fallecidos" (in Spanish). El Universo. 8 May 2020.
  3. "Uncollected bodies lie for days in the streets of Ecuador the emerging epicentre of the coronavirus in Latin America". Stuff/Fairfax. 4 April 2020.
  4. "Ecuador coronavirus: Bodies are being left in the streets in an overwhelmed city". msn.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  5. Phillips, Tom; Moncada, Blanca (5 April 2020). "Ecuador: cardboard coffins distributed amid coronavirus fears". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  6. Ecuador distributes cardboard coffins to cope with Covid-19 – CNN Video, retrieved 8 April 2020
  7. "Ecuador builds emergency cemeteries due to coronavirus outbreak". Reuters. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Stott, Michael; Long, Gideon (15 June 2020). "'This is a real world war': Ecuador's president on the virus". Financial Times.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Collyns, Dan (17 April 2020). "Ecuador's death rate soars as fears grow over scale of coronavirus crisis". The Guardian.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Coronavirus nightmare in Ecuador's main city Guayaquil – pictures". BBC. 17 April 2020.
  11. Cabrera, José María León; Kurmanaev, Anatoly (23 April 2020). "Ecuador's Death Toll During Outbreak Is Among the Worst in the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  12. "Police Beat and Injure Ecuador's Covid-19 Protesters". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  13. "Actualización de casos de coronavirus en Ecuador – Ministerio de Salud Pública" (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  14. https://twitter.com/Salud_Ec/status/1255896134024941571
  15. Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  16. Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  18. "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  19. "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  20. 20.0 20.1 @elcomerciocom (29 February 2020). "Ministra de Salud confirma primer caso de #coronavirus en Ecuador" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. "Ministerio de Salud confirma primer caso de coronavirus en Ecuador". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  22. "Ecuador confirma primer caso de coronavirus". El Universo (in Spanish). 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  23. @elcomerciocom (1 March 2020). "La ministra de Salud, Catalina Andramuño, informa cinco nuevos casos positivos de #COVID19 en Ecuador" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  24. @elcomerciocom (4 March 2020). "Tres nuevos casos por #covid19 en Ecuador" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  25. "Extranjero, el caso número 14 de contagiados con coronavirus en Ecuador". El Universo (in Spanish). 6 March 2020.
  26. "Coronavirus: 15 contagiados con el nuevo COVID-19 en Ecuador". El Universo (in Spanish). 8 March 2020.
  27. @elcomerciocom (10 March 2020). "Ministerio de Salud confirma dos nuevos casos de #covid19 en #Ecuador; en total 17 personas están infectadas" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  28. "Actualización de casos de coronavirus en Ecuador". Ministerio de Salud Pública (in Spanish). 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  29. "Ecuador confirma primera muerte por coronavirus". Infobae (in Spanish). 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  30. "Ecuador closes borders to foreign travelers due to coronavirus". Reuters. 14 March 2020.
  31. "COE confirma 37 casos de contagio de covid-19; 273 personas están en el cerco epidemiológico". El Comercio (in Spanish). 15 March 2020.
  32. Central and South American passengers stranded on CDMX due to flight cancellation (in Spanish) Informador, 16 March 2020
  33. "Coronavirus: Subió la cifra de contagiados a 58 en Ecuador". El Universo (in Spanish). 16 March 2020.
  34. "COE confirma 111 casos de COVID-19 en Ecuador". El Comercio (in Spanish). 17 March 2020.
  35. "Ecuador contabiliza este miércoles 155 casos de COVID-19; Samborondón duplica casos". El Universo (in Spanish). 18 March 2020.
  36. @Salud_Ec (18 March 2020). "El Ministerio de Salud Pública informa 168 casos positivos, 283 en sospecha, 312 descartados, 3 fallecidos y 575 personas en cerco epidemiológico de coronavirus. #QuédateEnCasa" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  37. @Salud_Ec (19 March 2020). "El Ministerio de Salud Pública informa que la vigilancia epidemiológica para coronavirus registra 260 casos positivos, 412 descartados, 4 fallecidos y 3 recuperados. #QuédateEnCasa" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  38. @Salud_Ec (20 March 2020). "El Ministerio de Salud Pública informa que la vigilancia epidemiológica para coronavirus registra 367 casos positivos, 483 descartados, 5 fallecidos y 3 recuperados. #QuédateEnCasa" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  39. @Salud_Ec (21 March 2020). "El Ministerio de Salud Pública informa que de un total de 2051 muestras para coronavirus existen 532 casos positivos y 649 casos descartados. #QuédateEnCasa" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  40. "Catalina Andramuño renuncia al Ministerio de Salud de Ecuador en medio de la emergencia del covid-19". El Comercio. 21 March 2020.
  41. "Ecuador Coronavirus Cases Increase by Over 400 in Less Than a Week, Health Minister Quits". US News. 21 March 2020.
  42. @Salud_Ec (23 March 2020). "El Ministerio de Salud Pública informa que la vigilancia epidemiológica para coronavirus registra 981 casos positivos, 1091 descartados, 18 fallecidos. #QuédateEnCasa" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  43. "Pichincha Comunicaciones on Facebook Watch". Retrieved 25 March 2020 – via facebook.com.
  44. @salud_Ec (30 March 2020). "El ministro de Salud Pública, informó esta tarde en cadena nacional #Covid19Ec que 54 personas han sido dadas de alta en el país. "Es una buena noticia", señaló" (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  45. Corpses on the streets of Guayaquil, after the collapse of the Ecuadorian health system (in Spanish) EFE/Diario de Yucatan, 1 Abril 2020
  46. Valencia, Alexandra (3 April 2020). "Ecuador builds 'special camp' for coronavirus victims as bodies lie in homes". Reuters.
  47. "Ecuador's virus-hit Guayaquil is grim warning for region". Financial Times. 5 April 2020.
  48. Otis, John. "COVID-19 Numbers Are Bad In Ecuador. The President Says The Real Story Is Even Worse". NPR.
  49. "Ecuador aims to restart economy after coronavirus quarantine". Reuters. 21 April 2020.
  50. "Ecuador's coronavirus case total is twice as high as confirmed: minister". Reuters. 23 April 2020.
  51. Matt Rivers; Natalie Gallón (10 May 2020). "Where are the bodies? Missing remains mean no peace for grieving families in Ecuador". CNN.
  52. "Coronavirus: Ecuador 'victim' found alive in hospital mix-up". BBC. 25 April 2020.
  53. "Ecuador exceeds 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases". Reuters. 4 May 2020.
  54. Valencia, Alexandra. "As Guayaquil stabilizes, Ecuador's capital braces for virus wave". Reuters.
  55. Solano, Gonzalo (13 June 2020). "Lab in Ecuador's capital forced to halt coronavirus testing". Associated Press – via ABC News.
  56. Cabrera, José María León; Kurmanaev, Anatoly (8 April 2020). "Ecuador Gives Glimpse Into Pandemic's Impact on Latin America". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  57. "Coronavirus: Ecuador protests against cuts amid pandemic". BBC. 26 May 2020.