Ecuador: Quito coronavirus situation ′critical′ | News | DW | 20.07.2020
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Ecuador: Quito coronavirus situation 'critical'

Ecuadorian Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos has said the situation is desperate after a surge in cases in the Ecuadorian capital. Quito is the second most affected city in the country after Guayaquil.

The health care situation in Quito has become "critical" due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Ecuadorian capital, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos revealed late on Sunday.

Between April and July, public hospitals in Quito almost tripled their intensive care units, increasing from 61 to 162, Zevallos told the Teleamazonas network.

Read more: Will coronavirus pandemic finally push emerging economies into crisis?

Over the same period, demand for hospital beds in the city that is home to some 2.8 million people went up "by 1.6 times," Zevallos said.

"The situation in Quito, the situation in (the surrounding province) Pichincha, is in a critical situation, this means that the intensive care units are full," he said.

Second hardest-hit, after Guayaquil

According to official data, Quito has registered 10,599 cases and is the second hardest-hit city in the country after Guayaquil.

The port city, which is also known as the gateway to the Galapagos Islands, was the epicenter of the epidemic with corpses lying in the streets as hospitals were overwhelmed with an avalanche of patients.

Read more: Ex-Ecuador president detained during COVID-19 graft probe

Quito's mayor Jorge Yunda warned less than a month ago that health care services in the city were struggling to cope with the increased demand. 

In mid-May the South American country began to relax its lockdown measures, but authorities in Quito say the capital may need to reimpose some restrictions after a surge in cases.

Ecuador, which has a population of 17.5 million, has reported some 74,000 infections and has a recorded death toll of over 5,300 from the virus.