Mayor Who Ordered Airport Runaway Block Has COVID

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash

Newsflash

The Mayor of an Ecuadorian city which made international headlines for ordering airport workers to block the runway to prevent the spread of coronavirus has now caught the disease.

Cynthia Viteri, the Mayor of Guayaquil, in the western Ecuadorian province of Guayas, announced she had contracted COVID-19 in a video message to her social media followers.

Newsflash

In the video she says: “This video is to inform all the citizens of Ecuador and those from Guayaquil who I represent, that today I was informed that I have been infected with coronavirus.

“You can be sure that I will keep protecting the city and all the citizens in a difficult moment like this no matter how they are, or where they are.”

Newsflash

She goes on: “And all of you, stay home, do not go out, protect the elderly, protect the weak, protect yourself. And to my beloved children, who are being informed through this.

“Do not come, little ones, do not come home. I have written a note because sometimes it is difficult for me to make you understand. I love you so much, dad and I will be fine.”

Newsflash

The news comes after Viteri caused controversy for ordering airport workers to park on the runway to stop flights coming from Europe from landing.

The measure was reportedly brought in place by the city council to prevent an Iberia Airbus A340 landing after taking off from Madrid and to stop a Boeing 777 being operated by KLM from landing after taking off from Amsterdam.

Newsflash

However, local media report the Iberia flight eventually landed in Quito but with only 11 crew members on-board, having in fact been sent to Ecuador to pick up Spanish citizens in the country to take them back to Spain.

Footage shows how the plane had no passengers on board after it landed.

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The KLM flight also landed in Quito with only crew members on board.

Prosecutors have reportedly begun an investigation into the incident and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works blamed the Guayaquil City Council for making air activity more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsflash

Reports state 170 passengers boarded the KLM plane in Quito and it has reportedly returned to Europe.

Mayor Viteri, who belongs to the conservative Social Christian Party party, took responsibility for the incident, saying she would do it again to protect the city from the arrival of people at risk of having COVID-19.

She claimed that the planes had been about to land in the city and the crew members were scheduled to spend the night there before returning the next day.

The mayor said that Guyauquil is bringing in strict restrictions on movement in and out to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with the city being one of the worst-affected areas in the country.

Newsflash

Local media report Guayaquil has more cases of COVID-19 than any other city in Ecuador.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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