QUITO – The number of fatalities in Ecuador from consuming homemade liquor containing methanol rose on Wednesday to 25, the Public Health Ministry reported.
Twenty of the fatalities were in the southwestern province of Los Rios, where last week a traditional festival was held featuring homemade liquor.
Three other people died in the central province of Tungurahua and two people perished in the southwestern coastal region of Guayas, the ministry said.
A 72-hour ban imposed on alcohol sales and consumption in response to the poisoning is set to expire Wednesday afternoon, but a Public Health Ministry spokesperson told Efe that a possible extension of the ban is under discussion.
Police have arrested 174 people for selling alcohol in defiance of the ban.
The Interior Ministry, in a communique published on its Web site, said that to date more than 4,500 liters (almost 1,200 gallons) of homemade liquor have been seized nationwide and will now be tested to determine if it, too, is poisoned. EFE