Cuenca Covid death rate stays low; Restaurants demand relaxed rules; City stays yellow; Ecuador one of few countries allowing int’l flights

Aug 24, 2020 | 20 comments

The Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee decided Friday that it will not participate in a pilot project to allow person-to-person public and private school classes. The program is being pushed by the national government but the local COE says that current Covid-19 circumstances do not allow it.

Cuenca restaurants and bars say they cannot continue to operate under current curfew rules.

The COE announced that the Cuenca canton will maintain its yellow light biosecurity status for another week. Mayor Pedro Palacios said local ICU units remain full but that additional equipment and supplies are on the way. He said the city’s death rate is the lowest in the country among large cities, with 195 deaths out of 3,765 cases. He added that there are 76 patients in critical condition in hospitals, many of them suffering from Covd.

Restaurants, bars say curfew, alcohol rules are ‘killing’ them
The association representing Cuenca restaurants and bars is joining groups in other cities to demand that the national Emergency Operations Committee extend the nightly curfew and remove a restriction on weekend liquor sales. “This is killing us, sending many of us into bankruptcy and forcing us to fire our employees,” says Gustavo Moreno, a Cuenca restaurant manager. “The government says it wants to revive the economy but their actions are sending us into a depression and making it impossible for us to survive.”

In addition to a relaxation of restrictions, the associations are asking the government for a tax exemption until the Covid pandemic ends.

In response, the national Emergency Operations Committee said it is considering relaxing the weekend curfew that currently goes into effort at 7 p.m., extending it to 9 p.m. but the associations are asking that it be extended to 11 p.m. for cantons under yellow light restrictions, which is most of the country.

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Ecuador one of few countries allowing international flights
Ecuador stands alone among Andean countries in allowing international flights as Peru and Chile extended their flight ban over the weekend. Colombia announced earlier that it will not resume national or international flights until at least September. Most Central American countries are also maintaining a flight ban with Panama announcing Saturday that airports will remain closed for another 30 days.

Thousands of private school students go public
Although the government says it can accommodate the thousands of private school students who are enrolling in the public school system, teacher organization disagree. The groups say that due to budget cuts and Covid-19 restrictions, the system will have extreme difficulty maintaining educational standards for the students already enrolled.

An early estimate is that as many as 200,000 private school students are transferring to public schools nationwide due to closures of private schools and economic hardship suffered by their families as a result of the coronavirus. The ministry of education has ordered private schools to reduce tuition by 35 percent but most schools say they cannot afford to stay open under the order.

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