QUITO, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador is experiencing a new spike in the COVID-19 infections, along with increased demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said on Friday.
In a virtual press conference, Zevallos blamed the rise in COVID-19 cases on family gatherings and festivities over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
However, he said, Ecuador was not undergoing a second wave of outbreaks, as is occurring in Europe.
"I think there have been no waves, waves are what's happening in Europe, unfortunately, something that rises uncontrollably and saturates hospital capacities. We have not had that," Zevallos said.
In the capital Quito, the number of cases registered in December and so far in January "is much lower than what we had in June and July," when cases peaked, he noted.
The country has also detected four cases of the new variant of the virus first identified in the United Kingdom, but authorities say its spread is being contained.
The Health Ministry on Friday reported 864 new daily infections and 21 more deaths from COVID-19, for a total caseload of 226,866 and a death toll of 9,669 since the first case was detected on Feb. 29.