QUITO, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's Ministry of Public Health reported 554 COVID-19 infections and 83 more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 375,329 cases and 13,281 deaths.
Another 5,108 deaths are considered to be COVID-19 related, but not verified, according to the ministry.
Over the last day, the provinces of Pichincha and Guayas registered 177 and 124 new cases, respectively, with most corresponding to their capitals, Quito and Guayaquil, the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in 16 of the country's 24 provinces with high incidence rate of infection, a state of exception has been in effect since April 23, including a nighttime curfew and a total weekend lockdown to curb the increase in cases, which will last until May 20.
In addition, public and private sector workers throughout the country are obliged to telework.
According to the government, the measures were taken in view of the circulation in Ecuador of the new coronavirus variants first detected in other countries, which are more contagious.
Meanwhile, the health ministry is moving forward with its vaccination plan against COVID-19, which began on Jan. 21 with health personnel, priority groups and the elderly.
So far, 743,937 people have been vaccinated, of which 541,420 have received their first dose and 202,517 their second, according to the ministry's latest report.