Despite earlier claims to the contrary, health ministry says Covid-19 delta variant is in the country

Jul 13, 2021 | 10 comments

Just two days after claiming that no cases of the Covid-19 delta variant had been recorded in Ecuador, the Ministry of Health has confirmed cases and deaths in Guayas and El Oro Provinces. Minister of Health Ximena Garzón blamed the confusion on a reporting error at local ministry offices.

At a Saturday press conference, the national Emergency Operations Committee announced new requirements for travelers entering the country and said the measures were being taken to keep the delta variant out.

“We regret the misinformation,” Garzón said Monday afternoon. “We can now report that eight cases of delta and one case of delta-plus have been verified in El Oro and two cases of delta have been verified in Guayas. Two patients in Guayaquil have died of the variant as have three in Machala. The other patients have been isolated and we are conducting contact tracing to determine if those who were in contact with them have been infected.”

She added that four of the five who died were unvaccinated and the fifth had received one vaccine dose.

A health ministry spokeswoman said that 10,000 antigen tests have been sent to El Oro for extended testing in Machala and other communities where the infected cases were discovered. “We have also modified the vaccination schedule in the affected areas to allow everyone 16 years and older to be vaccinated. Notice of the change is being broadcast on radio and television stations as well as through social media.”

The spokeswoman also said that several cases of the lambda variant from Peru have been reported in the country but did not offer details.