QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador reported over 10,000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, the fourth-highest tally in Latin America, as the disease ravages the economy of the oil-producing country.
The pandemic in recent weeks has overwhelmed sanitary authorities in the largest city of Guayaquil, the center of the Andean nation’s outbreak, where corpses remained in homes or for hours on streets.
Ecuador recorded its first coronavirus case on Feb. 29 and took 24 days to reach 1,000 cases. It took seven days for cases to double to 2,000, eight days to double to 4,000 and eight days to double again to 8,000, according to a Reuters tally.
The Andean nation has reported a total of 507 deaths, the health ministry said. Officials said they believed another 826 people have died due to the virus, but the cases were never confirmed.
The Ecuadorian government said that most of the confirmed cases are “stable in home isolation,” adding that it has taken 32,453 samples for COVID-19 testing.
The number of infections has been rising steadily in the Andean country, despite the mobility restrictions and quarantine that have been in force for a month.
“As long as people comply with this isolation in a disciplined and committed way, we will be able to contain the contagion,” Deputy Health Minister Xavier Solórzano told reporters in a press conference.
The government has had problems enforcing measures in various parts of the country, where people infected with the virus have been found circulating on streets and in shopping centers.
Authorities have said they plan to keep restricting movement, but that they are analyzing plans to ease measures in some sectors, such as construction.
In Latin America, only Brazil, Peru and Chile have more cases.
President Lenin Moreno has proposed creating a humanitarian assistance fund that would collect 5% of the profits with reported revenue exceeding $1 million in 2018, and would tax workers with monthly salaries of more than $500.
Those measures, that still have to be approved by legislators, have been questioned by indigenous people, unions and business leaders.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)