Before the coronavirus, sudden life-threatening ailments among tourists, fishermen and others on the Galapagos Islands were considered so rare that hospitals didn’t have a single intensive care unit bed.
Now, officials are racing to equip medical teams on the remote islands with breathing machines while also trying to stanch an economic crisis that has left many of the 30,000 residents jobless.
The island chain’s famous isolation is now heightening its hardship.
For seven weeks now, not a single tourist has arrived at the UNESCO World Heritage site that inspired Charles Darwin. Studies of the archipelago’s unique marine and avian wildlife have halted. And residents are making urgent changes, such as growing carrots, peppers and tomatoes at home so they don’t go hungry.
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