Historic El Centro church to undergo emergency repairs; Increasing Covid deaths in Guayaquil cause alarm; Ecuadorians take part in Chinese vaccine trials
The city of Cuenca has agreed to make emergency repairs to Iglesia Santo Domingo, formally known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, on General Torres at Gran Colombia in Cuenca’s historic district. The Catholic Dominican order, which is responsible for the church, will assist with repairs as it make plans for a renovation of the church.
The church has suffered severe water damage in recent years, weakening outer and interior walls and the ceiling and threatening artwork dating to the 17th century. Second in size only to Cuenca’s cathedral, Santo Domingo last underwent renovation 100 years ago, from 1918 to 1926.
The National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC) will provide technical assistance for the repairs, focusing on preserving murals and other historic elements in the main sanctuary.
Parts of the church suffered extensive damage in a 2013 fire and decades of leaks have caused further damage.
Increasing Covid deaths in Guayaquil cause alarm
Ministry of Health officials are reviewing death records in Guayaquil, concerned that the number of deaths from the Covid-19 virus may be far greater than being officially reported. Although only about 20 deaths a day have been attributed to Covid, the number of deaths above the 2019 average has doubled since late February. City mortuary services reported Thursday that they conducted 70 burials, more than twice the daily average.
Telmo Fernández, intensive care director at the Luis Vernaza Hospital, says all ICU units in his hospital are occupied, a situation that is repeating in other hospitals in the city. “We are seeing a rapid increase in the number of Covid patients within the past two to three weeks,” he said. “In my talks with other doctors, we all agree that we facing a new surge of infections. It is our hope we will not have a repeat of last April.”
Ecuadorians take part in Chinese vaccine trials
More than 400 residents of Quito and Guayaquil are participating in clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Anhi Zhifei. The group is part of 10,000 participants in four countries. According to Ecuadorian doctors participating in the trials, the inoculations are being well tolerated by volunteers with only minor side effects.
Trial managers for Anhi Zhifei say the vaccine will be submitted to government health review agencies within two months and could be ready for use by July.