President Lenín Moreno announced Friday night that he is extending the health emergency for an additional 30 days. According to his personal secretary, the president delayed the decision as he considered but finally rejected other options that would have relaxed restrictions to control Covid-19 infections.
In a short statement, Moreno acknowledged the damage the restrictions have inflicted on the economy but said he sees no alternative “at the moment” to extending the state of emergency.
Following the extension, the national Emergency Operations Committee extended all restrictions that would have expired Friday at midnight had the president not acted. These include extending weekend curfews and a prohibition of the sale of liquor on weekend nights.
In the Cuenca, the cantonal COE voted to keep the city under yellow light restrictions.
National and local COE officials admitted Friday afternoon that they were nervous about Moreno’s delay in extending the emergency. Juan Zapata, director of the ECU 911 system, said there would be “catastrophic results” if the the emergency was not extended.