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Ecuador News

It’s not possible to return to full lockdown, Romo says; Gov’t goes ahead with national airport passenger tests; Cuenca stays yellow

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said Friday it is not possible to return to the red light quarantine restrictions that Ecuador maintained for more than two months. “It is simply not an option at this point,” she said. “We believe we have mitigated the worst effects of the Covid outbreak and we must continue on the path of restoring our normal way of life.”

The government says there is no turning back to a full lockdown. (El Comercio)

More than half of the country’s municipalities have moved from red to yellow light restriction status while three operate under green light rules.

“We have not only suffered severe economic impacts, with at least 200,000 people losing their jobs, but there has been extreme social and psychological damage as well,” she said. “The number of women and children injured and killed in the past three months is at record levels.”

Ecuador Minister of Health Juan Carlos Zevallos agreed with Romo at a Friday meeting also attended by Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri and Public Works Minister Gabriel Martinez. “We have made great progress but we still have a long way to go,” Zevallos said.

As of Friday, Ecuador had recorded 49,731 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4,156 deaths. The Ministry of Health says that more than 80 percent of those infected have recovered.

Ministry goes ahead with airport test requirement
Despite concerns about the accuracy of some Covid-19 tests, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos has approved the requirement that all passengers flying between Ecuadorian destinations be tested for Covid-19.  The requirement became effective Friday and will remain in force until July 6. For passengers who chose to take the more accurate PCR test, the test must be conducted and certified by a lab registered with the Ministry of Health.

Cuenca stays yellow: Mayor says 3 percent of Cuencanos have been infected
The cantonal Emergency Operations Committee voted Friday night to keep Cuenca under yellow light health restrictions. In his report after the meeting, Mayor Pedro Palacios said that the recent rise in total Covid cases was the result of the partial “return to normalcy” but said that hospital capacity is sufficient to accommodate the critically ill. “We are pleased with our efforts so far to control the spread of the virus,” he said.

Earlier Friday, Palacios said that health officials believe that about three percent of Cuenca residents have been infected with the virus. “The data indicates that at least 18,500 Cuencanos have been infected and most of them have recovered.” He added that most of those cases were asymptomatic or were accompanied by minor symptoms. “This means that most of us remain vulnerable to the disease so we must continue to exercise caution, including social distancing and wearing masks.”

Quito’s request for a dry law and longer curfew rejected
The National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) rejected two requests from Quito Mayor Jorge Yunda on Friday, one to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages and another to begin the daily curfew three hours earlier. Yunda said the measures were necessary due to increasing numbers of hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients. The COE did agree to allow the city to delay face-to-face interactions in public offices for another week. Quito is under yellow light restrictions.