Ecuador should brace for possible new COVID-19 outbreaks: health minister

QUITO, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador should brace for possible new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in the wake of holiday celebrations, Minister of Public Health Juan Carlos Zevallos said on Thursday.

"Yes, there are going to be waves (of outbreaks), but not the apocalyptic waves that have been forecast by some specialists," Zevallos said in an interview with a local radio station.

According to the minister, the coming weeks may see fallout from recent celebrations in the port of Guayaquil marking the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city.

Guayaquil has the country's second-largest outbreak, with 14,651 infections.

Hopefully, "these waves of infection are successive and gradual," so hospitals are not overwhelmed with patients, he said.

The minister stressed that the pandemic "is not over," although there are "encouraging" figures regarding the decrease in the occupancy of hospital beds.

Ecuador has registered 156,451 cases of infection and 8,195 deaths from COVID-19 since the onset of the outbreak here, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health.

Another 4,305 deaths are suspected of having been caused by the virus, but have not been confirmed, according to the ministry.

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