Second case of omicron variant reported in Guayaquil and officials expect a rapid spread

Dec 18, 2021 | 34 comments

The Ministry of Health reported Friday that a second case of Covid-19 omicron variant has been found in Guayaquil. Unlike the first case, in which the infected 48-year-old man had recently visited South Africa, where omicron was first detected, the second patient had no contact with international travelers.

An Ecuadorian woman is vaccinated in Guayaquil.

“There is no relation to the first case of omicron and the second and it appears the patient was infected through community spread,” the Health Ministry said. Thirteen people who had been in close contact with victim, a 47-year-old woman, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure.

Like the traveler to South Africa, the Guayaquil woman has mild symptoms and doctors say she will not require hospitalization.

Also like the South African traveler, the infected Guayaquil woman had received two Covid vaccine doses but had not been boosted, the Health Ministry said. “It’s clear that in breakthrough cases, the vaccines help prevent serious symptoms and the research shows that a booster offers even more protection,” Ministry of Health Undersecretary Francisco Pérez said.

He added that there are probably many more cases of the omicron variant in the country. “Without a doubt, it is already here and the new case proves that. It will probably spread rapidly and become the dominant strain within a matter of weeks. The good news is that most cases appear to be mild and don’t cause hospitalizations or deaths.”