Face masks now required in public; New virus cases trend down; Prostitution ruled non-essential; Ecuador, Peru target border crossings
Ecuador’s Emergency Operations Committee has ordered all residents to wear protective face coverings in public areas. Under terms of the order, municipalities will enforce the rule which is intended to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
According to Interior Minister María Paula Romo, any mask, scarf or bandana that covers the mouth and nose is acceptable, with the exception of N95 masks which are reserved for medical personnel. Those not authorized to wear N95 masks will be subject to fines.
New confirmed cases of the virus continued the recent downward trend on Monday, as 101 new cases were reported by the Ministry of Health, bringing the total to 3,747. Deaths from the virus now stand at 191.
Ministry spokesman Julio López said that the case total could rise in coming days as a result of an increase of tests being administered. “This is to be expected but we are feeling confident that the efforts to control the virus are proving effective,” he said.
Confirmed cases by province are: Azuay 100, Bolívar 27, Cañar 59, Carchi 12, Chimborazo 46, Cotopaxi 23, El Oro 59, Esmeraldas 17, Galápagos 11, Guayas 2 534, Imbabura 21, Loja 27, Los Ríos 158, Manabí 88, Morona Santiago 11, Napo 2, Orellana 4, Pastaza 12, Pichincha 395, Santa Elena 52, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas 36, Tungurahua 22, Zamora Chinchipe 2 and Sucumbíos 30.
Peru and Ecuador try to stop border crossings
Peru and Ecuador are attempting to stop illegal border crossings in rural areas in a joint military operation. Army officials on both sides say they have dismantled camps for travelers attempting to cross the border. In a statement, the military commands of the two countries said that only vehicles carrying essential cargo are allowed to enter the two countries during the Covid-19 health emergency.
Cuenca officials said Monday that licensed houses of prostitution are not allowed to operate during the health emergency. Owners of two brothels had petitioned the city that their services were essential to the mental and physical well-being of the city’s male population. They also offered assurances that sex workers would wear masks and gloves while performing their duties. In denying the request, a city clerk suggested that men take matters into their own hands while sheltering at home.
110 fined for curfew violations
The Cuenca prosecutor’s office reports that 110 people have been fined or jailed for violating the health emergency curfew since it went into effect March 16. Seven of those fined violated the terms of their safe-conduct permits, including two firemen who made a video of themselves with a group of women partying on empty historic district streets Friday night. Safe-conduct permits allow for transportation for emergencies and authorized deliveries during curfew hours.