Airlines, interprovincial buses resume service today; Cuenca remains ‘yellow’; Political parties want election delay; Galápagos is a ‘disaster’

Jun 15, 2020 | 2 comments

The National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has authorized the resumption of interprovincial bus service between cities under yellow and green Covid-19 health emergency status starting June 15. COE said that service in most municipalities will begin today although some cities may need additional time to comply with safety requirements. As of Monday morning, the terminal terrestre in Cuenca was awaiting authorization from the local COE to resume service. Buses will operate with 50 percent seating capacity and passengers will be required to wear face masks.

Interprovincial buses resume service today in cantons under yellow and green light status.

National commercial airline service also resumes today in Cuenca when the first Latam flight from Quito arrives at 8:05 a.m. Latam will operate three incoming and three outgoing flights during the week of June 15, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and will increase frequency based on demand. Airport management said that Cuenca-based AeroRegional is also considering providing Quito-Cuenca service.

News briefs

COE keeps Cuenca yellow
The Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee voted Friday night to continue yellow light health emergency status in Cuenca. Acknowledging an increase of Covid-19 cases, Mayor Pedro Palacios said the city’s two public hospitals have increased the number of ICU beds and have the capacity to receive more patients. “We have seen more positive virus tests since we relaxed restrictions but this is mostly due to an increase in testing, not the spread of contagion. For now, we are handling all critical cases.” He added that two private hospitals are also accepting Covid-19 patients.

Under yellow light protocols, the daily curfew is 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and private vehicles are allowed on the street three days a week based on the odd-even license plate system established by the national COE. Businesses allowed to operate, maintaining social distancing and disinfecting standards, include: supermarkets, mercados, pharmacies, gas stations, hotels, hostels, restaurants, and coffee shops as well as most most stores selling general merchandise. Businesses not permitted to open include bars, liquor stores, gyms, night clubs and brothels.

Political parties ask for election delay
More than 20 political parties are asking the National Electoral Council (CNE) for a month’s delay in the 2021 national elections. Representatives of the parties say the delay, from the first Sunday in March to the first Sunday in April, is necessary due to the disruption caused by Covid-19 pandemic. “We have lost time to prepare for the campaign and are asking for a one-month extension to organize,” says Geovani Atarihuana, national director of the Unidad Popular party. Atarihuana adds that almost all parties are in agreement in asking for the delay and says it will not affect the May 2021 inauguration of the new president. In May, President Lenin Moreno said he opposes any delay in the election.

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Galápagos Islands request economic disaster status
The Galápagos Islands government council is asking the national government to declare the islands an economic disaster zone. The council is asking permission to suspend payment of public and private debts for a period of 12 months and the immediate payment of funds owed the islands by the national government. “The government is four months behind in transferring funds to the Galápagos and we need this money urgently,” says Henry Cobos, mayor of San Cristóbal. “We understand the burdens of the coronavirus emergency but we are rapidly approaching the point where we cannot provide basic services to our residents.” The council is also asking for the temporary suspension of some tourism rules and restrictions to allow the tourism industry to recover when the islands reopen July 1.

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