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Mask use becomes mandatory again in closed spaces in Ecuador

The use of masks will be mandatory again in closed spaces in Ecuador due to the increase of cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases such as influenza, informed yesterday, Wednesday the National Emergency Operations Committee (COE).

The COE, which manages the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, decided after receiving an epidemiological report from the Ministry of Public Health, said at a press conference the director of the agency, Juan Zapata, along with government authorities.

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“All citizens must use the mask in closed spaces, poorly ventilated places or where it is not possible to keep a distance, such as classrooms, transportation, work,” Zapata said.

Mask use becomes mandatory again in closed spaces in Ecuador. (Photo internet reproduction)

He added that masks are also mandatory in hospitals and for all persons with respiratory symptoms.

Meanwhile, masks were recommended in open places where massive events and agglomerations are held.

Ecuador eliminated the use of masks at the end of April last year, after several months of a drop in the number of infections and deaths due to COVID-19, thanks to a massive population vaccination.

At that time, President Guillermo Lasso said that the pandemic was under control in the country and it was no longer necessary to wear masks in open or closed spaces.

Zapata added that the COE also recommended the population be tested for COVID-19 before any respiratory symptoms or influenza and to perform five days of voluntary isolation from the onset of symptoms.

Likewise, the population was urged to apply the COVID-19 booster doses and the influenza vaccine to people over 65 years old, children between six months and six years old and pregnant women.

The Minister of Health, José Ruales, pointed out that cases of respiratory diseases have increased in seven of the 24 provinces of the country; however, there is no increase in hospitalizations or deaths.

He detailed that the severe acute respiratory infections currently registered correspond to AH3N2 influenza and the most susceptible population are children under five years old and adults over 65 years old.

He said that 80 percent of the most serious cases in the last week correspond to influenza.

As for COVID-19, in epidemiological week 48 (the current week), 3,549 confirmed cases had been reported nationwide, 2,869 more than in week 45 when 680 cases were recorded.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has accumulated 1,018,179 cases of COVID-19, of which 35,907 have died, among confirmed and probable cases, according to the latest report of the Ministry of Health.

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