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Health Minister quits, citing ‘politicalization’ of anti-Covid-19 effort; Cuenca cases double again; Visa deadlines suspended; Med supply shortage

Ecuador Health Minister Catalina Andramuño resigned Saturday, complaining that the government is putting political interests above health concerns in the fight against the coronavirus. She claims that medical and scientific recommendations are being ignored by government officials.

Former Health Minister Catalina Andramuño

An unnamed source said that Andramuño objected, in particular, to Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner being put in charge of the national Covid-19 effort, claiming the move was “purely political,” intended to advance Sonnenholzner’s presidential campaign and that he lacked basic understanding of medical issues and protocols.

In her resignation letter to President Lenin Moreno, Andramuño also complained that the health ministry had not received the funding necessary to manage the Covid-19 effort.

The president’s office announced Saturday night that Juan Carlos Zeballos has been appointed to replace Andramuño.

Before Andramuño’s resignation, the health ministry reported that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country had grown to 532, of which 379 are in Guayas Province. It reported seven virus-related deaths.

In Cuenca, Saturday’s total was 17, up from nine on Friday. Two other Azuay Province cases were confirmed in the Yunguilla Valley, southwest of Cuenca.

Virus update

Health workers complain of lack of supplies
Estalin Endara, spokesman for Cuenca medical workers, said Saturday that his members lack the necessary protective gear to treat coronoavirus patients. “We need gloves, surgical masks and clothing to safely treat the victims,” he said. “We have been told the supplies are forthcoming but they have not been delivered.” He said that supplies on hand will be exhausted by Monday. Directors of the Vicente Corral Moscoso Hospital acknowledge the shortage, blaming it on a bidding process that has been slow to respond. The Zone six health ministry office said it is working to resolve the problem.

Visa periods extended for tourists, temporary and permanent residents
Ecuador will extend the visa period for tourists and foreign residents as a result of the coronavirus emergency. The foreign ministry annnouced Saturday that it would also extend the term of visas that are in process for extention or satus change. The extention will be in effect until mid-May. “No visas will be terminated during this period,” it added. Once the emergency ends, foreigners will have 30 days to finish visa processes already underway in or leave the country without paying a fine, the ministry said. The change applies to tourists, temporary residents and permanent residents.

KLM flies Dutch citizens out of Guayaquil
A total of 213 Dutch nationals left Guayaquil Saturday aborad a KLM flight bound for Amsterdam. The flight was the first international flight out of Guayaquil since Wednesday when Mayor Cynthia Viteri blocked KLM and Iberia aircraft from landing at the airport to evacuate foreigners.

41 thoughts on “Health Minister quits, citing ‘politicalization’ of anti-Covid-19 effort; Cuenca cases double again; Visa deadlines suspended; Med supply shortage

  1. The experts, like Drs. Andramuño and Fauci, should be running the show, not ignorant pols who want to get their mugs in front of the cameras.

    1. Same suggestion for the Orange Beast to stop appearing at the daily COVID19 update, which he fills with lies, inaccuracies and continuous propaganda for his grandiose “achievements” ……Hard to understand such claims since he said it’s all a democrat/msnbc/media “hoax”…..disgustingly inept narcissist must be removed sap

      1. He did not say Coronavirus was a hoax. That is itself a hoax and was debunked by the WaPo which gave it four pinocchios. He closed the borders which the experts now say saved a lot of lives though he got partisan attacks for it at the time. His lasting contribution may be the fact he is speeding FDA which has needed such an impulse for years. He is praising others relentlessly, including Cuomo, Newsom, and other Democrats. It appears to me the spreader of partisan hoaxes could be identified in your mirror.

        1. Here, Lucy, instead of cherry picking information that support your beliefs, get a fuller picture. Please read this article and get back to us. Don’t just blow it off, comment on it once you have read it:

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/us-intelligence-reports-from-january-and-february-warned-about-a-likely-pandemic/2020/03/20/299d8cda-6ad5-11ea-b5f1-a5a804158597_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_to_your_health&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_tyh&wpmk=1

        2. Lucy, I realize you admire Trump, but he DID say the virus is just a hoax. Try listening to a news channel other than Fox. Try out Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell for a change of perspective. The virus isn’t a hoax AND contrary to what Trump says, life isn’t going back to normal next week. Trump thinks the social distancing recommendation should end and people should just go back to week next week. Do you agree?

            1. I have a number of very high IQ and well-educated friends, just like Lucy, who think Trump is the greatest President ever. I can’t change their thinking and just “let go, let God.” If these folks can’t figure out the truth of Donald Trump by now… and I am writing this on April 28,.. nothing anyone can do. I just love my friends as they are … I don’t consider Trump a friend and do not find him acceptable.

      2. What? Not even an honorable mention for Xi Jinping’s disgusting ineptness. China’s deceit was unnecessary and it will cost them going forward.

      3. Agree 100% with everything you have said.. but would take issue with 1 point. I would call him the orange sphincter, not the orange beast. You are too kind.

      1. It seems “likely be accurate” to me, to use your language. I don’t see any discrepancy except that the source you cite is not up to date on the minister’s reason for resigning.

        1. It is not as you say. USnews stated that Ecuador appointed a professional physician and professor of medicine to replace Andramuño, an ambitious pol, as Minister of Health, where the article above quotes the Andramuño complaining that the VP, another ambitious pol, is in charge.

    2. From what I’ve seen on social media from the city of Cuenca it looks like it’s official policy to wear a mask when you go out. If you live in Cuenca, that’s the policy that’s in force.

      Links, articles, and other media from the U.S. about masks and what’s recommended is irrelevant here.

  2. We need her back. The only thing Otto Sonnenholzner has going for him is that he hasn’t used the term “Deep State”, yet

  3. Your headline if Cuenca Cases Doubling Again is not correct. Please do not add to fear by sensationalizing any information. In Cuenca High Life 2 days ago the Cuenca Cases as of Thursday night was reported at 14. Today you report 17. This is 3 additional reported cases. Thank you for your services to the expat community; I appreciate receiving news each day. Please don’t recycle headlines or info that are not correct and can cause more fear.

    1. If they really wanted to “add to the fear” they could report that the chief Navy doctor says to multiply the “confirmed” number by 100 for a more accurate count. Three of my Ecuadorian friends are very sick with virus symptoms and none of them plan to get tested — they don’t trust the government. The reported numbers are worthless.

      1. I saw an interview with the navy doc. Very smart, honest guy. What he says is way more scary than what’s being reported here.

    2. Cody I think you’re right. However Ecuador cases have doubled between March 19 and 21 from 260 to 532. and I think Azuay has gone from 1 to 17 in about 9 days. It’s really hard to know if detected cases are a stable % of actual cases throughout country…the lack of personal protective equipment – PPE- may be contributing to under-testing. So please everybody let’s be super careful and try to suppress growth and spread in Cuenca. #Solidarity

  4. What can we do to get Catalina Andramuño BACK! She has done a great job, in comparison to so many other countries!!! The “politicians” SHOULD do whatever it takes…..to support her, and get her back! Who do I write??

    1. “Surgical masks” are disposable and intended for one time use only. You are kidding yourself with “home remedies”

      1. It is a N95 mask. And subjecting it ro ultraviolet rays for a few days between trips to supermaxi has scientific merit. Now disapprove what I said.

        1. When I purchased an N-95 mask at the pharmacy, the attendant told me that the mask is reusable for up to 15 days and I should return in 12 days to buy more

        2. The burden of proof always rests with the person making a claim:

          https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

          You have made the claim that the ultraviolet rays in sun are strong enough to disinfect your mask. Can you provide any information to support that claim?

          Let me help you out. I realize that actual investigation and dealing with facts is difficult for some people:

          https://slate.com/technology/2013/08/sunlight-is-the-best-disinfectant-not-exactly.html

          http://sunlightinstitute.org/sun-exposure-antiseptic-antibiotic/

          Now, if you can handle some actual science, there is this:

          https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/18/658335490/grandma-was-right-sunshine-helps-kill-germs-indoors

          Want a historical perspective? There’s this:

          https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/548346

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2222356/

          I have done your research for you but it is now up to you to actually read that research and come to your own conclusions. Tell us what you think?

  5. We need to help Ecuadorians and Expats. I feel to trust this girl we must join and help all the
    people. If we play politics and don’t organize we will have a lot of deaths more then we think.
    We don’t want to have politicians running the show we need doctors that are very knowledgeable
    If they think this is a joke people seniors will die in their homes. These virus is dangerous.
    For her to quit now she must be completely right!

    1. Catalina Andramuño is NOT a girl. Time for you to step out of your cave a show the lady the respect she deserves.

      1. I read the same thing you did, and you are right of course… but why would you even comment on it. Don’t we have enough problems right now. Come on man, grow up.

        1. Perhaps some people need to be reminded that RESPECT is deserved by all. I grew up a long time ago, and given your cavalier attitude, it certainly begs the question as to how you treat others.

  6. January 30: Trump on Coronavirus, “We have it very well
    under control, and I think it’s going to have a very good ending. So that I can
    assure you!”

    February 2: Trump on Coronavirus, “Well, we pretty much shut
    it down coming in from China, but we did shut it down!”
    February 10: On Fox News Trump says without evidence that
    the coronavirus “dies with the hotter weather… You know, a lot of people
    think that goes away in April with the heat.”
    February 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under
    control in the USA.”
    February 25: Trump falsely claims “You may ask about the
    coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few
    people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re ALL
    getting better!”
    February 26: Trump wrongly says the coronavirus “is a
    flu” and that “whatever happens, we’re totally prepared.”
    February 26: Trump baselessly predicts the number of US
    cases is “going very substantially down” to “close to zero”
    February 26: Trump wrongly says the flu death rate is
    “much higher” than Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. Coronavirus has 10X death
    rate compared to flu. If 60K die from flu then 600K will die from Coronavirus!
    February 27: Trump baselessly said, “It’s going to
    disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
    February 28: Trump said at a rally, Coronavirus is “the new
    Democratic Hoax.”
    March 2: Trump falsely claim

  7. I think it’s a shame that Catalina Andramuno resigned under impossible working conditions. She was the one person a couple of weeks ago in all of the Americas who seemed informed and believable.

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