Galapagos registers zero cases of Covid-19 in the last week, a milestone driven by the high percentage of vaccinated

June 22, 2021 2:17 PM

El Garrapatero beach, on Santa Cruz Island, awaits national and international tourists. 
Photo: Courtesy Joshua Vela

The Galapagos Islands registered zero cases of confirmed infections of Covid-19 during the last epidemiological week and completed two weeks without hospitalized patients due to the coronavirus, a historical milestone driven by a high level of vaccination .

In the previous week ending June 12, 2021, there was only one infected person on the island of San Cristóbal  The vaccination meter of the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) of Ecuador reflects a coverage of more than 97% of the vaccinated adult population in the islands, from 16 to 64 years old.

In the Governing Council of the Galapagos celebrates an even higher percentage. The projection of the adult population over 18 years of age is 20,122 people in the archipelago and that 20,815 have been vaccinated with the two doses of Pfizer. That is, 103.44% of the projected population. 

“The population over 18 years of age is 100% immunized, while 75% of adolescents between 16 and 17 years of age have been immunized,” reported Mayor Ángel Yánez, mayor of Santa Cruz, and part of the Governing Council of the province.

The vaccination process for adolescents between 16 and 17 years of age is expected to be fully completed by July 1 and 2, 2021. “We will be waiting for the MSP to authorize us and deliver vaccines for children between 12 and 15 years of age,” Yánez added.

Health has asked the population for responsibility, encouraging them to keep their guard up: avoid crowds, keep social distancing and personal protection measures, such as the use of a mask. 

The vaccination process has been “very effective” and Galapagos is confirmed as a safe tourist destination according to Andrés Ordóñez , director of the Chamber of Tourism of the province. “The easing of measures to enter the islands from July 1 will allow us a greater influx of tourists, especially from North America, where they also have a high level of vaccination and with whom we have the best connectivity,” he explained.

Beginning next Thursday, July 1, tourists will be able to enter the archipelago with a PCR test or negative antigen test (carried out up to three days before arrival) or with the vaccination certificate, completed 14 days before the expedition. Those vaccinated no longer present must present the additional requirement of a negative PCR test, as had been required.

“What has been requested by the citizens is the strengthening of the PCR testing laboratory of the islands, to maintain control and monitoring of both residents and visitors,” Ordoñez said.

In July and August, during the summer in Europe and North America, the tourism sector on the islands expects to receive about 10,000 tourists per month (out of the 25,000 who usually visited the islands each month, in pre-pandemic times).

The island region received 7,452 tourists last May, 61.16% of them were national visitors, according to figures from the Chamber of Tourism.

On June 9th, the Ministry of Tourism released the international campaign Vuelve a respirar (Breathe Again), promoting the Galapagos as a safe destination.

Last week in a meeting with representatives of industry unions in the archipelago, the Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, committed his oversight with the public banks to provide direct loans for the sector, without “cumbersome” procedures.

The minister spoke of the vaccination plan for the tourism sector in continental Ecuador and a Tax Reform project sent to the Presidency.

Meanwhile, union representatives proposed, among other issues, the elimination of the value added tax VAT for the sale of tourist packages by national agencies in Ecuador, which would help reduce the final price to the consumer.

Read the original coverage from El Comercio at https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/ecuador/galapagos-cero-contagios-covid19-plan-vacunacion.html


Read additional coverage from El Telegrafo at https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/actualidad/44/galapagos-libre-de-covid-19-en-la-ultima-semana


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

 

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