Ecuador reports 1,111 daily COVID-19 cases



QUITO, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 1,111 new daily cases of the novel coronavirus infection, bringing the total number of cases to 252,390.

The ministry also reported 31 more deaths from the disease in the past day, raising the death toll to 10,257. In addition, another 4,692 deaths are suspected of being COVID-19 related, but not verified.

Currently, all 24 provinces are seeing community transmission of the virus, with Pichincha, the national epicenter of the pandemic and home to the capital Quito, registering 88,049 cases, or 34.9 percent of the country's caseload.

An accelerated rise in serious COVID-19 patients in Quito has overwhelmed hospitals, leaving dozens of people on a waiting list for intensive care unit beds, according to authorities.

The ministry is moving forward with the country's pilot vaccination program against the virus, using the first 8,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

On Jan. 21, the first doses were given to healthcare personnel in the public sector and seniors in nursing homes. On Wednesday, inoculation began for healthcare staff at private hospitals and clinics. Enditem