January 12, 21 - 10:56 am - LABS

Ecuador confirms the presence of new coronavirus strain

Ecuador confirmed on Monday the presence in its territory of the new variant of Covid-19 detected in the UK, at a time when the health system is reaching the top of its capacity and the Government is taking steps to access a greater number of vaccines.

As reported by La República, the Minister of Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos, said that the patient with the new variant is a 50-year-old man who traveled from London, with a transfer in Madrid, on December 12, 2020 and upon entering the Andean country presented a negative result of a PCR test. The case is registered in the coastal province of Los Ríos.

Zevallos added that an epidemiological fence has been raised to 14 close relatives and they are daily monitoring about 2,500 people.

“Only the new strain from the UK is the variant that has been detected here,” he added.

The minister said that the greatest concern is the relaxation of restriction measures’ compliance by the population, which could lead to a saturation of the country’s health system. At the moment, intensive care units in some public hospitals are reaching full capacity, he acknowledged.

The Government analyzes new restriction measures in the new scenario. Travellers arriving in the country through the international airports of Quito and Guayaquil will have to present a negative result of a Covid-19 test.

Zevallos also said that he is travelling to Washington to manage the acquisition of a greater amount of vaccines than that agreed with some laboratories. Next week the first 50,000 vaccine doses from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer will arrive in the country.

Ecuador registers more than 221,000 infections and 9,600 deaths from coronavirus, according to official data. The Government also includes in the data another 4,584 deaths, probably due to Covid-19.