Quito, Feb 20 Ecuador on Friday reported 1,416 new cases of Covid-19 infection and 24 deaths from the disease in the past 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 271,276 and the death toll to 10,738.
The Ministry of Health also documented another 4,736 "probable deaths" due to Covid-19, the Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
According to the ministry, Ecuador is seeing an exponential increase in infections every day, mainly in major cities, although all cities are registering a rise in cases.
The capital Quito, the current epicenter of the pandemic in Ecuador, registered 388 infections in the last 24 hours for a total of 87,832 confirmed cases, while the port and industrial centre of Guayaquil, capital of the western province of Guayas, saw 111 new cases of infection for a total of 23,519.
Quito Mayor Jorge Yunda and Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri have both requested authorisation from the central government to buy vaccines for local vaccination programs.
Viteri formalised her request on Thursday, saying the vaccine "is the only alternative that exists" to contain the pandemic.
Yunda, who has been campaigning to buy vaccines since December, said his goal was to vaccinate at least one million people.
"If we do not vaccinate our city, we are not going to overcome this tragedy," Yunda said.
Ecuador's government plans to start mass vaccination in March, aiming to immunise 9 million Ecuador, depending on the international supply of vaccines.
However, the so-called "zero phase" of the vaccination plan began in January, using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunise priority groups.
( With inputs from IANS )
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