In about-face, government says there will be no lockdown Friday; Police shut down hundreds of parties; 50% of seniors are vaccinated

Apr 25, 2021 | 31 comments

The government has reversed an earlier decision to include Friday’s Labor Day holiday in a three-day weekend lockdown. On Saturday night, President’s Lenin Moreno’s communication office announced that Friday will be subject to the same 8 p.m. curfew that applies from Monday to Thursday.

Calle Mariscal Lamar in Cuenca was empty Saturday near the usually bustling 9 de Octubre market. (El Mercurio)

“The weekend curfew will begin at 8 p.m. Friday night and end at 5 a.m. Monday, not from 8 p.m. on Thursday,” the announcement said. “Friday is a holiday and the curfew will not apply on this occasion.”

Interior Minister Gabriel Martínez, who had announced the three-day lockdown on Thursday, said the change was made to give citizens more freedom on the holiday. “The president decided that it would be unfair to confine people on Labor Day, April 30, and decided that mobility would be the same as for the rest of the week,” he said.

Martínez’s earlier announcement on Twitter regarding the three-day confinement was deleted.

Police shut down hundreds of parties during lockdown
National Police broke up more than 700 parties and private gatherings in the first weekend of the Covid-19 lockdown but made only 72 arrests. In all, police responded to more than 15,000 complaints of curfew violations in the 16 provinces subject to the health emergency quarantine.

In Cuenca, only 15 arrests were reported although 25 more people were temporarily detained following raids on 112 illegal gatherings. Police gave warnings to those caught on the street Saturday and Sunday but said violators would be arrested for subsequent offenses. Among those issued warnings were several people using ATM machines and a U.S. foreign resident who thought his vaccination card allowed him to take a walk – it didn’t.

More than 2,000 drivers were fined for driving without a valid reason and an undisclosed number of vehicles were impounded for flagrant violations.

Fausto Salinas, National Police chief, said he was pleased with the public’s compliance with the curfew. “Residents were generally respectful of the intent of the emergency and obeyed the order to remain at home,” he said. “Our message to the public is that the curfews and weekend confinement will be enforced. We will give warnings but repeat offenders will be fined or jailed.”

The state of emergency authorizing the curfews and weekend lock down continues until May 20.

50% of seniors are vaccinated as more doses arrive
Ecuador Health Minister Camilo Salinas reports that 50 percent of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The number is a correction of his earlier estimate of 70 percent, which he says was an error based on May projections. According to ministry numbers, 558,000 of seniors have received the first vaccine dose while 202,000 have received two doses. The health ministry says there 1,139,958 residents over the age of 65 in the country.

The health ministry also reported Saturday that almost a million more vaccine doses arrived in the country last week. Of those, 336,000 are the AstraZeneca vaccine shipped as part of the United Nations Covax program for developing countries. In addition, 287,000 doses of the Pfizer and 410,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccines arrived at the airports in Quito and Guayaquil.