All Galapagos adults will be fully vaccinated in May; 11 p.m. curfew remains in effect for Cuenca; ICU beds are at full capacity locally; Deaths rise nationally

Apr 17, 2021 | 19 comments

Everyone over the age of 18 in the Galapagos islands will be fully vaccinated by May 31. The plan, announced Friday by Vice President Maria Alejandra, is intended intended to revive tourism, which the islands’ economy depends on. According to the governing council of the Galapagos, more than 70 percent of the workforce is employed in the tourism trade.

More than 70% of the workforce in the Galapagos lslands depends on tourism, the government says.

“The Galapagos have suffered greater employment loss by far than any other province in Ecuador,” Muñoz said. “The situation requires emergency attention in bringing Covid virus under control in that region.”

According to Health Minister Camilo Salinas, Pfizer has agreed to provide an additional 40,000 doses of vaccine by early May to reach the objective of full adult vaccination.

11 p.m. driving curfew remains in effect in Cuenca
The office of Mayor Pedro Palacios announced Thursday that there will be no change in the Covid health restrictions this weekend. The 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect and applies to the circulation of private vehicles on city streets as well as to other activities.

The statement acknowledged that the national emergency operations commission is considering increasing restrictions nationwide, including expanding curfew hours, but it must have an agreement from the Constitutional Court before making changes. Twice in the past six months emergency restrictions have been applied through presidential decree and both times the court ruled most of them unconstitutional.

The national government continues to maintain its weekend 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on federal highways through the Labor Day holiday in May. Azuay Governor José Jaramillo cautions drivers that the national restrictions apply to roads connecting cantons near Cuenca.

Despite drop in Covid cases, Cuenca ICU units are at capacity
Julio Molina, regional coordinator of the Ministry of Health, reports that the intensive care beds at Cuenca’s public and Social Security have reached full capacity. “We are experiencing a serious overload of emergency cases, including those of Covid-19,” he said.

Complicating the situation, Molina said, is that the three private hospitals in Cuenca that accept Covid cases are also near capacity, with 31 of 35 ICU units occupied.

There was some good news, Molina said. Azuay Province and Cuenca are bucking the national trend of new records for Covid cases. The province’s cases have dropped since the beginning of year while they have increased nationally.

Total deaths up in first quarter of 2021
Ecuador has seen a 24 percent increase in deaths from January 1 to March 31, the Civil Registry reports. There were 36,251 deaths registered during the period compared to 29,318 in 2020.

A Registry spokeswoman said that not excess deaths were the result of Covid. “Based on death notices, many of the deaths were Covid-related but we have also seen an increase in other deaths as well,” she said. “Doctors tell us that many people have died during the pandemic due to delayed treatment of other illnesses.”

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