QUITO, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Ecuadoran government has invested more than 219 million U.S. dollars in fighting COVID-19 through employing epidemiological monitoring strategies and strengthening the national health system, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said Thursday.
During a teleconference with the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, Zevallos said that to contain the spread of the virus, "it was essential" to activate and strengthen the nation's health facilities through expanding hospitals and adding beds to intensive care units.
According to the minister, Ecuador currently has 142 hospitals for COVID-19 treatment and 54,997 health professionals, of whom 2,273 were newly hired during the pandemic.
Zevallos added that the country is also fighting the virus through searching for cases actively by using tools such as georeferencing, telemedicine, and active epidemiological surveillance.
"This is a health, economic, and social pandemic," he said. "It should not be resolved within hospitals, but should rather be controlled at the community level."
To date, Ecuador has registered 131,146 COVID-19 cases with 11,213 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
Zevallos said that the pandemic cannot yet be considered to be under control in the country, but Ecuador "is on the way to reactivation."