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Ecuador News

Government pays some debt, expects new IMF loan; New health minister worked at CDC; First Galapagos cases; Highway travel restricted

Ecuador Finance Minister Richard Martinez announced Monday that Ecuador made a $325 million payment on foreign debt and will take advantage of a 30-day grace period to defer additional payments. He added that he has been in contact with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has agreed to provide a $500 million loan to Ecuador later this or next week.

New Minister of Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos

On Monday, members of the National Assembly urged the government to defer all payments to creditors to provide additional funding for the coronavirus crisis but Martinez said that debt payments will not affect funds for the health emergency. “We are allocating additional funds for that effort but it is also important that we cover our financial obligations so we are able to return to the credit market for future needs,” he said.

Virus Update

New health minister worked with U.S. CDC
Ecuador’s new Minister of Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos, says he believes that Ecuador is well-prepared for the Covid-19 virus. “We started early to slow the spread of the disease although we face many challenges due to equipment and space shortages, which I believe we will overcome in the coming days,” he said.

A cardiologst trained at the University of Massachusetts, Zevallos worked as a researcher at the U.S. Centers of Disease Control in Atlanta and later as a professor a Florida Internaional University in Miami. He says he will rely on the international health contacts he established during his years in the U.S. and Italy. “We must pay close attention to what has happened in China and what is ongoing in Europe and adjust our protocols as new information arrives,” he said.

Zevallos replaces Catalina Andramuño, who resigned after complaining that the government was not providing sufficient funding to fight Covid-19.

Transit police monitor highway travel

Traffic police at a roadblock near Cumbe. (El Mercurio)

Ecuador Transit Police have established highway roadblocks throughout the country to control traffic between communities. The roadblocks are being manned by National Transit Police, the armed forces and local transportation officers. No traffic will allowed except for the purpose of purchasing food, medicine and other essential household supplies, said Fabián Moscoso of the Cuenca transportation office. “Travel will not be allowed for other purposes, such as visitation or transporting passengers,” he said. Vehicles will also be checked to determine if they comply with the odd-even license plate rules. Violators will be fined $200 and have nine points deducted from their licenses.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22, 130 drivers were fined for violating driving day rules or for being on the road for unauthorized purposes.

Galapagos Islands report first Covid-19 cases
The president of the Galapagos Governing Council, Norman Wray, said Monday night that four Covid-19 cases have been confirmed on Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal Islands. “We tried hard to keep the virus out of the islands but due to circumstances beyond our control this was not possible,” he said. “At this stage, three of the vicitms are suffering mild symptoms while one is hospitalized in critical condition.”

The Galapagos have imposed strict rules for visitors during the national heatlh emergency, requiring them to undergo a supervised 14-day quarantine before being allowed entry.

24 thoughts on “Government pays some debt, expects new IMF loan; New health minister worked at CDC; First Galapagos cases; Highway travel restricted

  1. I just do not get the odd even driving rules, there are hardly any cars out (in Cuenca at least). Am I missing something ? How does a working guy get to work by car, especially with buses shut down. Or maybe this is country wide where there is much more traffic in Quito or GYE. Just trying to understand.

    1. An authorized “salvoconducto” (a Government of Ecuador document) grants the driver and passengers special transit permissions. I am not sure if this is provided to workers transiting within a city for legitimate, necessary work purposes or not.
      The directives are in place to limit our contact with other individuals not within are immediate household. My understanding is these are in place as to not overwhelm the health system, cause unnecessary healthcare costs, limit the potential of someone from spreading virus to others that would cause unnecessary harm to their health or finances, potential for society to return to normal life quicker, protect others more susceptible to infection, and allow the testing and discovery of drugs and development of a vaccine for the Coronavirus Covid-19

      It would be reasonable to give the power to the airline to restrict someone with the flu or other contagious disease from flying. In the US unlike in Asia when sick the majority will not wear any mask or take precautions when contagious and flying.

    2. A “working guy” is not working if the business is closed. If his business is considered essential, and s/he is considered an essential employee, then he can get a government paper (salvoconducto) that will allow that person to drive all 7 days.

      For example, anyone who drives to deliver food can get that paper. Only takes about an hour (and I don’t know exactly which office to go to).

      We had some chickens delivered a couple days ago. The person was a bit late, and explained the above to me, and said she had just gotten the paper, so that she could make deliveries every day.

    3. Cars with an even last digit on their plate may circulate Tue/Thur/Sat in order to buy food or get medicine, those with an odd one the other days. My understanding of the salvoconducto is that essential companies issue the document to employees to justify their presence on the road to the authorities (the information requested on the form makes sense in this context). It is thus not issued by the government, you only download it from its website. I called EMOV last week to find out about our case where I had to take my wife to a doctor´s appointment on a day when we were not allowed to be on the street. They stated that in that case I had to issue the salvoconducto to myself, backed by written proof of the appointment. To be sure, I wrote to the Ministry of Production which clarified that a patient does not need any particular permit to be on the road on any given day but that I, as the driver, did need the salvoconducto. This is what the orginal email said:

      “Estimado usuario, de acuerdo a su consulta. En el caso del paciente no es necesario el salvonconducto, únicamente con el carnet de paciente puede movilizarse, en el caso del conductor, si necesita el salvoconducto para poder circular libremente.”

      Maybe this sheds some light on the issue.

  2. This should’ve been what the article was about,

    Catalina Andramuño, who resigned after complaining that the government was not providing sufficient funding to fight Covid-19.

    1. I don’t really care why Andramuno was fired. I much prefer having a well qualified physician with a background in Public Health and international connections running things.

    2. Well, given the circumstances, my personal view is that Ecuador so far has done a reasonably good job trying to fight the virus. A lot of countries are having difficulties with financial and equipment needs, Ecuador is not alone in this but, as a third-world-country, does face problems other, more developed countries don´t. As for Ms Andramuño: a health secretary who resigns in the middle of a severe health crisis lacks leadership and a sense of responsibility when it is needed most, regardless of the circumstances.

    1. Isn’t that interesting that Moreno is getting another IMF loan now when people can’t protest, no assembly allowed? Hmmmm

        1. Three times last week, Donald Trump defied expert advice and
          touted anecdotal evidence that the anti-malaria drug chloroquine might
          cure Covid-19. “It’s been around for a long time,” the president said on
          Thursday, “so we know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not
          going to kill anybody.” An Arizona man died from our Stable Genius
          Chumps suggestion!!

      1. don’t you think the government is going to need every penny that it can get while almost all sources of revenue have gone while expenses have gone up alarmingly … the IMF loans are at a very low % that they couldn’t get anywhere else too. do you want to lend some money to the government ?

  3. What happens to the Gringos who have to get to , probably, Quito in order to get international flights for repatriation? Policia have blockades on all major highways, allowing autos to “purchase medicine, food other essentials items. Travel will not be allowed for other purposes; visitation or transporting passengers”….supposed the rules will change, after the new Minister of Heath, Zevallos resigns😱

  4. Re: New health minister worked for the CDC. Just in case some of you thought that the CDC was a government agency and that it could be trusted: The Center for Disease Control (CDC), is a corporation headquartered in the STATE OF GEORGIA. The CDC is not part of government. It is a private for-profit corporation listed on Dun and Bradstreet that is chartered under the umbrella of the private for-profit UNITED STATES corporation with extremely close ties to the pharmaceutical companies and a sordid history of corruption and scandal. For many articles outlining this brutal history: http://www.encognitive.com/node/23178

    1. Jennifer Gordon, wow, in what universe? CDC is an operating office of the Department of Health and Human Services. Just in case you are also unfamiliar with it, HHS is a US Government department on same organizational level as Defense, State, Justice, etc. Don’t believe me though, do yourself a favor and research it. Go to HHS web site, CDC web site and read. Oh, you well see both URL’s end in .gov. That would be for US Government.

      1. Goodman is a fool that doesn’t deal in facts. Spending time trying to debunk her nonsense is futile, except for the other people actually seeking truth and facts. Goodman will never change. Her beliefs are akin to religion in the sense found in Eric Hoffer’s book, The True Believer. There are many others like her that are regular posters on this forum. Hiram Fong (John G) comes to mind immediately.

    2. You are not only ignorant, but dangerous. Your lies and false information will harm others:

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading national public health institute of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

      The whacko sites you post links to only pander to the lunatic fringe and it is clear you are a charter member.

      1. Disgusting attacks on people here stating their opinions. Stupidity, rudeness & disrespect reign supreme! Poor excuses for men – more like little snotty nosed boys. Don’t bother to reply to me. I won’t read it.

        1. “Stupidity, rudeness & disrespect reign supreme!”

          You are so right. I haven’t seen a person as ignorant and gullible as Jennifer Goodman in a long time. You won’t read my reply? Liar. I see you have read it already.

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