Ecuador reports 478 more cases of COVID-19



QUITO, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador on Tuesday reported 478 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths, raising the total caseload to 210,236 and the death toll to 9,447.

The actual death toll is closer to 14,000, as another 4,554 deaths were likely caused by COVID-19 but have not been verified, the health ministry said.

Health authorities have attributed a rise in infections to lack of compliance with social distancing regulations, and an uptick in social gatherings due to the Christmas holidays.

The government decreed a new 30-day state of emergency on Dec. 21, which includes a nighttime curfew, a ban on alcohol sales and mobility restrictions.

In an interview on Tuesday, Public Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos ruled out a ban on travelers who have been in Britain in the past 10 days, following the appearance of a new coronavirus strain there.

However, travelers arriving from Britain, Australia, South Africa and European Union countries must present a negative COVID-19 test and undergo a rapid antigen test administered by the Public Health Ministry. Enditem