April 30, 2020 / 3:16 PM / a month ago

Ecuador has stabilized number of new coronavirus cases - president

QUITO, April 30 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that the number of new coronavirus cases had stabilized and death counts were falling after the outbreak overwhelmed sanitary authorities in the largest city of Guayaquil and ravaged the economy.

Ecuador has confirmed 24,675 cases of COVID-19, with 883 deaths and a further 1,357 deaths considered likely the result of the virus. The government has warned the actual toll is much higher, particularly in Guayaquil, where corpses were left in homes or on streets for hours.

Moreno, in a televised speech, said hospitals were seeing fewer patients and they had doubled the number of intensive care beds available. Authorities will also expand a plan to deliver food supplies to over 8 million vulnerable people, he said.

“We have dealt with the health emergency, and we will keep doing so, but now we will deal a lot more actively with the humanitarian emergency,” Moreno said.

Ecuador is readying a plan to restart its economy and authorize flights home for citizens stranded abroad, the government said on Tuesday, following a month of strict quarantine to curb the pandemic. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Angus Berwick Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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