The Loja Emergency Operations Committee has asked President Lenin Moreno to declare a state of emergency for the canton. The action would require approval from the Constitutional Court under a provision that local communities hard-hit by the Covid pandemic can request that some civil rights be temporarily suspended.
Several doctors at the Social Security hospital in Loja claim that the hospital and other health facilities in the area are in a “state of collapse” due to a surge in Covid-19 infections since the beginning of the year. “We are beyond our capacity and face a tragedy if something is not done to slow the increase of new infections,” says Cosimo Zaruma, a doctor at the local IESS hospital says.
The city council and COE concur, pointing out the high rate of serious cases among younger people. “We have people in their 20s requiring hospitalization and the trend of the illness among the young in Loja is increasing,” says Loja Mayor Jorge Bailón. “We must take extreme measures immediately to stop the spread.”
A state of emergency would allow the local COE to impose restrictions on movement in the city and lock-downs if necessary. Under current national health rules, the right to free movement cannot be restricted without Constitutional Court approval.