Suspects arrested in murder of tv anchor; Ecuador to receive 885,000 vaccines from WHO; Expat Super Bowl party advisory; COE releases election, Carnaval rules

Feb 6, 2021 | 6 comments

National Police arrested three suspects Friday in connection to the January 27 murder of Guayaquil television announcer and personality Efrain Ruales. Ruales died of gunshot wounds in his car after he left a morning workout at his gym in what police believe is a murder-for-hire arrangement, possibly relating to the victim’s reporting of a scandal involving sales of equipment to hospitals.

Efrain Ruales

The arrests were made in two early morning raids in Guayaquil. During the raid, police recovered $6,000, several weapons and evidence of theft of a vehicle allegedly used in the murder. Police say all evidence has been turned over the prosecutor’s office, which is also collecting testimony from friends and family members of Ruales. The names of the suspects have not been released.

Ecuador to receive 885,000 vaccine doses through the WHO Covax program
The World Health Organization said Thursday that Ecuador would receive 885,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine distributed under the Covax Initiative for developing countries. The vaccines will be provided by the U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech, and AstraZeneca / Oxford University, and be delivered by the end of March.

WHO says it has commitments for 240 million doses of the vaccine but that delivery dates beyond the first shipments are subject to change. A total of 141 countries will receive vaccines under Covax, with India receiving the most, 96 million. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that Latin American countries will receive between 35 and 40 million doses. In addition to Ecuador, Haiti will receive 876,000 doses, Guatemala will receive 847,200 and Bolivia, 900,000. Distribution numbers for other participating countries in the region will be announced next week.

The cost of the Covax vaccines is based on the ability of countries to pay, with 10 countries, but not Ecuador, receiving free shipments.

COE issues election and Carnaval recommendations and restrictions
Cuenca’s Emergency Operations Committee has issued the following recommendations and restrictions for Sunday’s election and for the Carnival holidays, February 13 and 16.

For election day:

  • Go to your designated polling station without the company of relatives or vulnerable people.
  • Carry your own pen.
  • Use biosecurity measures.
  • There is a prohibition of street sales near the polling stations.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is forbidden.

Supporters of the political candidates are asked to avoid large gatherings in public or private spaces, remembering that all public events are prohibited.

For the Carnaval holiday, the COE reminds that the following are prohibited:

  • Large gatherings, private or public.
  • Public events, including concerts
  • The vehicle restriction will enforced from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m..
  • Operation of bars and discos.
  • Amusement centers and houses of prostitution.
  • Sports competitions and tournaments.

6,000 have been vaccinated
As of Friday, more than 6,000 people have been vaccinated in Ecuador with the first dose against the Covid-19 virus, the Ministry of Public Health said. The ministry said those vaccinated will receive a second dose within three weeks. Ecuador received 8,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on January 21 and expects an additional 80,000 before the end of February. The first doses of the vaccine have been given to healthcare workers and administrators, primarily in Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca.

U.S. advises expats about Super Bowl parties
The U.S. State Department is advising U.S. expatriates to observe Covid-19 rules and restrictions in their host countries if they plan to attend Super Bowl parties. “Covid-19 rules in some countries do not allow large gatherings for such televised events as the Super Bowl while other countries remain in full quarantine status, requiring residents to remain at home,” a State Department advisory read. “We ask all U.S. citizens living in other countries to obey all local rules.”