The Emergency Operations Committee (COE) tightened the rules for private vehicle use on Friday, reducing the number of days drivers are allowed on the streets.
Beginning Saturday, March 28, vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 2 and 3 will be allowed to circulate on Monday and Friday; vehicles with license plates ending in 4, 5 and 6 can circulate on Tuesdays and Saturdays; vehicles with license plates ending in in 7, 8 and 9 can circulate on Wednesdays and Sundays; and vehicles with plates ending in 0 can circulate on Mondays and Thursdays.
Vehicles are only allowed on the streets during non-curfew hours, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., unless they have safe-conduct permits, and owners must have a legitimate reason for leaving home, such as to purchase food or medicine.
Previously, private vehicles were allowed on the streets for three or four days a week based on an odd-even license plate number system.
The COE said the new restrictions are necessary to reduce the number of people who leave their homes as a result of the growing number of coronavirus cases in Ecuador.
On Friday, the Risk and Emergency Management Service announced the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has risen to 1,627 with the death toll standing at 41. Guayas Province continues to lead the country in cases with 1,202 followed by Pichincha with 137, Los Ríos with 58, Azuay with 42 and Manabí with 40.
In addition, 2,148 people remain in quarantine under observation by health officials.
In Azuay Province, 38 cases are reported in Cuenca, two in Santa Isabel and two in Gualaceo, while several suspected cases are being monitored.
IMF emergency funds on the way
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Friday that it would begin disbursing money to developing nations, including Ecuador, to help with efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
IMF director Kristalina Georgieva said the emergency funding was necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of governments. “We have entered an economic recession as a result of the spread of Covid-19 and we recognize that many of the world’s countries face great challenges in providing health services for their citizens,” she said. “Few countries have the internal resources to handle the crisis on their own and we feel it is our responsibility to step in.”