QUITO, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador reported 17 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 360,563, while the number of deaths remained at 12,720, with no new deaths recorded, the Ministry of Public Health said on Monday.
Another 4,983 deaths are considered to be COVID-19 related, but not verified, according to the ministry.
The province of Pichincha, the hardest hit by the pandemic nationally, registered the most new infections in the last day, with 16 cases, totaling 125,744, in addition to 2,677 deaths.
Of the new infections confirmed in Pichincha, all of the 16 cases were in the capital, Quito, epicenter of the pandemic in the South American country, with a total of 116,169 cases.
The National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) met on Sunday night to evaluate adopting new restrictive measures to stop the spread of the virus, but ruled out a total quarantine.
COE President Juan Zapata told reporters that the committee is analyzing the possibility of asking President Lenin Moreno to declare a new state of emergency.
Concerns have increased in Ecuador after the Institute of Microbiology of the University of San Francisco of Quito confirmed that the COVID-19 variants first detected in the UK and Brazil are circulating in the country.
Meanwhile, 545,132 people had been immunized against COVID-19 as of Saturday, with 377,199 receiving their first dose and 167,933 their second, according to the Health Ministry.