Officials announce first virus death as it reduces the size of public gatherings from 1,000 to 250

Mar 13, 2020 | 4 comments

Minister of Health Catalina Andramuño reported Friday that Ecuador’s first confirmed coronavirus victim has died. The 71-year-old woman, whose name has been withheld, arrived in Guayaquil on a flight from Madrid on February 14. She was hospitalized on February 29, the day tests proved positive for the virus, and is believed to have infected 14 family members and friends.

Ecuador Health Minister Catalina Andramuño

Andramuño also announced that the country’s coronavirus count has increased to 23, four higher than on Thursday. Two of the new cases were travelers from Spain and Sweden. The ministry says that 10 cases have been identified in Los Ríos Province, eight in Pichincha Province and five in Guayas Province. “Unfortunately, it appears we are facing a more rapid rate of transmission,” Andramuño said.

Also on Friday, the government revised downward the maximum size of public gatherings in the country, from 1,000 to 250. Interior Minister María Paula Romo said reduce crowd sizes is the most effective method for fighting the spread of infection.

Following up on Thursday’s order that travelers arriving from China, Italy, Spain, France, South Korea, Japan and Iran spend 14 days in quarantine, Foreign Minister José Valencia said quarantine expenses should be borne by the travelers, not by the Ecuadorian government. He added that those who disobey the quarantine would be arrested and deported.

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