Emergency driving restrictions relaxed in Cuenca; Economic impact of pandemic not as bad as expected; 4% of Cuencanos have been vaccinated
Following discussions with the national Emergency Operations Committee on Friday, it was agreed that Cuenca residents will not be subject to driving restrictions on city maintained roadways that are being applied in other areas of the country.
According to national COE president Juan Zapata, Cuenca is faring better than communities in Manabí and Pichincha Provinces in the Covid-19 pandemic and is entitled to the exemption. He added that the exemption could be lifted if the situation deteriorates. He also said that the odd-even license plate restrictions will continue to be applied to federal highways.
In Cuenca, the following rules and restrictions apply:
- A curfew will be enforced from from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
- Social and gatherings outside of the family circle are prohibited.
- The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is suspended from Monday to Thursday after 6:00 p.m. and all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Face-to-face services in the public sector are suspended from Monday April 5 to Friday April 9. Teleworking assistance will be offered as needed.
- Activities in gyms, athletic training centers, brothels, cinemas, theaters and parks are suspended during the state of emergency.
- The operation of bars and discos is suspended.
- Mass events and religious gatherings are prohibited.
- Face-to-face classes are suspended in institutions where they were previously authorized.
- 50% capacity will be enforced in shopping centers and restaurants.
Economic impact of Covid not as bad as feared
Finance Minister Mauricio Pozo reports that the economic damage of the Covid-19 pandemic is less severe than expected. According Ecuador’s Central Bank the economy contracted by 7.8 percent in 2020 following predictions by the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of an 11 percent decline.
“Last year was still terrible but it could have been much worse,” Pozo said. He predicted growth of 3.5 percent in 2021, adding: “Of course, we starting at very low point so we have a long way to go to return to pre-Covid economic levels. Covid has been the worst blow to the country’s economy in 50 years, even worse than the 1999 banking crisis, but the government has handled its appropriately, reducing the potential damage.”
Vaccination rate hits 4% in Cuenca, 2% nationally
More than four percent of Cuencanos have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, well above the national rate of two percent, the regional health ministry office reported Friday. Because most vaccinations occurred in late April, only one percent of the local population has received two doses while only .05 percent have nationwide.
In Azuay Province, all vaccines administered so far have been Pfizer.
According to Azuay Governor José Jaramillo, vaccinations of essential workers is almost complete in the province while vaccinations for citizens over 65 is well underway. “Our limit is the lack of doses but we are inoculating between 500 and 600 a day with what we have,” he said. “We are set up to vaccinate at a much higher rate as more vaccine doses arrive.”