The president of the national Emergency Operations Committee (COE), Juan Zapata, announced Thursday that the committee is recommending an end to the Covid-19 state of emergency declared for El Oro Province and the city of Guayaquil. Zapata and Vice Minister of Health José Ruales said they would send the recommendation to President Guillermo Lasso late Thursday.
Zapata also said the COE is considering the relaxation of nationwide and local Copvid health restrictions in the near future.
According to Zapata, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped over the last month in the two locations, adding that restrictions applied in early July “have done their job.” The state of emergency was declared the day after the first cases of the delta variant were discovered in El Oro and Guayaquil. “Observing the rapid spread of delta in other countries, especially in Great Britain and the U.S., we felt it necessary to take strict precautions,” he said. “We are relieved we haven’t seen such conditions in Ecuador and believe our vaccination program and other health measures have helped us to avoid it.”
This is not a time to relax coronavirus protocols, Zapata said. “We are pleased with the progress we have made, especially in the area of vaccinations, but the pandemic is not over. We must maintain our vigilance.”
Ruales echoed Zapata’s caution but hailed the progress of the vaccination program, saying it is on course to meet its goal of nine million fully vaccinated Ecuadorians in the first 100 days of Lasso’s administration. “As of today, we have vaccinated 7,400,000 of our fellow citizens with two doses and another three million have had their first dose.”
Ruales added that major cities, including Guayaquil and Cuenca, have recently reported days with no Covid fatalities. “No, we are not done with the virus but our progress is reassuring.”