El Ecuadorable loses security chief to flu

From Aporrea, a sad note:

Colonel John Merino, chief of security for the President of Ecuador, died today from AH1N1 flu, after 27 days in the intensive care unit of the Military Hospital in Quito.

Merino was admitted on August 10 with a grave prognosis. He had co-ordinated the security for the Unasur summit, the bicentennial celebrations of the independence of Quito, and the inauguration of Rafael Correa’s second consecutive term as president, which was being celebrated that day.

Since that date, Merino remained in intensive care. According to President Correa himself, in a report on August 29, he was “between life and death.”

“My security chief, an extraordinary official, Air Force Colonel John Merino, is between life and death because he went above and beyond the call of duty, to the point of imprudence,” President Correa said.

Merino did not mention having symptoms of influenza, and kept on doing his job. Correa confirmed that “the chief of security was a man who worked tirelessly for the national government.”

Merino, 42, died around 8:00 pm local time (1:00 GMT). He will lie in state in the Yellow Room of the presidential palace in Quito, and will be transferred tomorrow to the coastal city of Guayaquil.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health in Ecuador report that up to now, the type A flu has affected over 900 persons in Ecuador, killing 45.

Translation mine.

Condolences to Col. Merino’s family, and to all of Ecuador.

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