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The Metropolitan District of Quito (northern Ecuador) recorded an average of more than 50 positive cases of covid-19 per hour, evidencing the virus's rapid spread, the president of the Medical Association of the province of Pichincha, Victor Alvarez, said on Monday.
"It calls our attention and alarms us, compared to previous data, that 50.8 people living in the Metropolitan District of Quito test positive for covid-19 every hour," said Alvarez, interviewed by Ecuavisa television network.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the city of Quito had not reported massive rates of contagion like those of the last week, in which more than 1,200 people were infected every day, said Alvarez, citing official data.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, the Ecuadorian capital registered an accumulated 203,973 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
According to the same report, Quito is the city with the highest number of cases in the country, followed by Guayaquil (west), with 76,690 positive disease cases.
On Monday morning, the hospital of the Social Security Institute (IESS) Quito Sur, one of the largest in the South American country, reported that there is saturation in its critical units.
The epidemiological coordinator of this health center, Francisco Mora, told the Ecuavisa network that the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the hospitalization area are currently at 100 percent occupancy.
On the same day, the mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri, said that the number of deaths due to covid-19 in that city increased from 10 to 14 per day.
"In less than four days, deaths from covid-19 in Guayaquil rose from 10 to 14 per day," she said at a press conference after a meeting of the Emergency Operations Committee (COE).
In the last two weeks, the city experienced an increase in the number of infections associated with the omicron variant, as cases rose from 500 to 1,547 per day.
Viteri indicated that classes would be suspended for 30 days, unlike the national COE, which on Sunday decided to postpone the return of students to the classroom scheduled for Monday throughout the country for a week.
The mayor even said that the municipal COE is analyzing the possibility of proposing to the national COE to impose restrictions on the circulation of private vehicles at night.
The official added that Guayaquil should be treated differently from other cities, mentioning that this week is expected the arrival of two cruise ships with people who will be in the city at least for a day.
According to data from the cantonal COE, in Guayaquil, 231 out of 238 ICU beds to treat cases of covid-19 are already occupied, that is, more than 97 percent, while 383 out of 468 hospital beds (81.84 percent) are with patients.
Given this situation, the Municipality ordered new spaces to open to patients with mild and medium complexity conditions.
On Sunday, Ecuador established a traffic light policy to establish the level of risk due to the spread of Covid-19 infection and declared most of the country to be at high risk.
According to health authorities, at the moment, 193 cantons, including the most prominent cities, Guayaquil and Quito, are categorized in red (high risk); only two cantons, located in the Amazon, are in green traffic light (low risk); 12 are in yellow traffic light (medium risk).
According to the categorization, capacity will be reduced to between 30 and 50 percent in markets, financial institutions, public transportation and other public services; restaurants, gyms, beaches, among others.
On-site classes will be suspended for those with red and yellow traffic lights.
The traffic lights will vary weekly and this Friday, the COE will meet to analyze what happens during the week.