The government announced Wednesday that travelers entering the country will no longer be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination. The alternative option of presenting proof of a negative PCR test was also dropped. The new rules went into effect Thursday at midnight.
The change follows President Guillermo Lasso’s September 4 declaration that the pandemic is over in Ecuador.
Interior Minister and President of the National Emergency Operations Committee Juan Zapata also said that the elimination of the vaccine requirement also applies to those entering the Galapagos Islands. “We feel comfortable in making the change based on epidemiological data,” he said. “Cases of the virus continue to drop in the country as do their severity and we believe Covid-19 is in the process of evolving to endemic status.”
Zapata said the Health Ministry will continue to monitor Covid cases and could re-introduce requirements if necessary. According to the Health Ministry, 84% of Ecuadorians over the age of three have received at least two doses of the vaccine while 53% have received three or four.
Gov’t says strike reparations must go to all injured parties, not just protesters
Government Minister Francisco Jiménez said Thursday that any reparation for injuries and damages suffered as a result of the June indigenous strike must be provided to all those affected, not just protesters. Reparations is one of several issues left unresolved following negotiations between the government and indigenous groups that ended last week.
“I want to make it clear that if reparations are paid, they will go to all who suffered as a result of the strike,” Jiménez said. “It would be unfair that only protesters be compensated since many others, including police and members of the public, were also injured during the events. Those who suffered financial loses as a result of vandalism and violence must also be compensated.”
Conaie President Leonidas Iza, who led negotiations for indigenous groups, is insisting that only protesters receive compensation. “Only the participants in the uprising against the government should receive financial compensation in the final agreement,” he says. “Any others who sustained injuries or losses as a result of the strikes should take up the matter separately with the government since it was the actions of the government that caused their harm, not the indigenous.”
Iza says the issue of compensation is second only to fuel subsidies among unresolved negotiation issues.
Lasso says more referendum questions coming
President Guillermo Lasso said Thursday that his office is developing at least four more questions to be included in a public referendum in early 2023. The announcement followed a Constitutional Court decision throwing out two of eight questions the government wanted to send to voters.
The rejected questions, allowing the military to assist police in law enforcement matters and another redefining the authority of the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control were considered the most important of the eight submitted to the court.
According to Government Minister Francisco Jiménez, the new questions will also address law enforcement functions and the authority of the Ccpcs. “Based on the court’s decision, we must reformulate the proposals to meet constitutional requirements,” he said.
He added that a question “regarding employment and economic development” may also be added to the referendum questions.