QUITO, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's Ministry of Public Health on Friday reported 866 infections and 14 deaths from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 213,378 and the death toll to 9,487, since the onset of the pandemic on Feb. 29.
According to the ministry's daily pandemic report, the actual death toll could be around 14,000 as another 4,564 deaths were likely caused by the coronavirus but not verified.
At the start of 2021, the capital Quito, the country's most populated metropolis, remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Ecuador, with 69,799 cases of infection, 216 more than on Thursday, amid a rise in infections since June.
In June, Ecuador began to relax lockdown measures to reactivate the economy and gradually normalize activities.
Quito's Ministry of Health announced Thursday it will continue to test and track cases through medical brigades that visit neighborhoods with high rates of transmission.
The brigades conduct free COVID-19 screening tests and treat patients with symptoms related to the disease. Enditem