Ecuador's National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) declared on Monday, May 25, that Guayas department has become the country's epicenter amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Guayas has reached almost 14,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, representing over 45 percent of cases in Ecuador as of May 25. The department's capital, Guayaquil, is Ecuador's second most populated and worst-hit city, with 9,606 cases of infection recorded.
Ecuadorian authorities announced on Saturday, May 23, that up to 30 percent of air traffic will resume from Monday, June 1, amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The current state of emergency will remain in effect until Tuesday, June 16, while the use of face masks remains mandatory in public spaces. Fines may be given to those who do not comply with the measures. Additionally, all public gatherings (including sporting events and entertainment centers) remain prohibited, all inter-provincial travel remains prohibited, and schools remain closed as of Tuesday, May 26.
As of May 26, authorities have confirmed 37,355 cases of COVID-19 and 3,203 associated deaths in Ecuador. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term. Ecuador's exact death toll may be higher, as 2026 deaths are considered "likely" to have been caused by the virus but have not been verified yet, the Public Health Ministry said on May 25.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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