Ecuador’s health authorities confirmed this Thursday the existence of two new outbreaks of the British variant of covid-19, both in the province of Pichincha, of which Quito is the capital.
“The Ministry of Public Health reports that two new cases were registered in Pichincha with the new variant (B1.1.7) of the covid-19 virus, which was reported by the United Kingdom to the World Health Organization (WHO) last December 14, 2020,” reports a statement.
The cases, which are added to another four verified, correspond to a 64-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl, without any relationship between them, the Ministry explained.
The first one entered Ecuador with a negative RT-PCR test, as required by the authorities, on January 11, from the United Kingdom.
The second patient has not traveled in the last six months, so the origin of the condition is unknown.
The two patients are receiving treatment in the intensive care units of hospitals in Quito and in both cases the prognosis is reserved.
As a result of the detection, the Ministry has expanded the epidemiological fence around it to investigate whether there are other cases, and according to the statement “several relatives” of the patients “present symptoms” and “remain in home isolation and under epidemiological control and surveillance “.
The tests in both cases have been contrasted in genomic analyzes by the San Francisco de Quito University (USFQ).
Paúl Cárdenas, a researcher at that university, explained that the laboratory carried out the sequencing of the viruses to determine their variant using “the technique called nanopore.”
“Thus we confirm that these cases respond to the new variant,” he said.
After the appearance of the new variant, Ecuador imposed special detection measures on December 22 at its two main airports.
Until January 25, in the capital, the Ministry of Health conducted 3,003 rapid antigen tests, of which 59 (1.96%) passengers tested positive and completed mandatory isolation.
In Guayaquil, 5,048 rapid antigen tests were performed, of which 42 (0.83%) were positive.
These two new outbreaks of the British variant are added to the first one discovered on January 11 in a patient in the province of Los Ríos, north of Guayas.
Patient zero, who was discharged from hospital on Tuesday after going through the ICU, infected three family members who are in stable condition, according to the statement.
Until yesterday, Wednesday, Ecuador had verified 243,535 accumulated cases of covid-19 and 14,704 deaths, between confirmed and “probable”.
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