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Quito demands tighter restrictions; Swimmers evicted from beach; Who gets ventilators in Cuenca? Aeroregional resumes Cuenca service

Claiming that the coronavirus health emergency has reached “critical proportions,” the Quito Emergency Operations Committee is asking the government to allow it to exend the nightly curfew, ban alcohol sales and impose new restrictions on the use of private vehicles. Two weeks ago, the national COE rejected a similar request citing the need to reactivate the economy.

Aeroregional will begin Cuenca-to-Quito service next week.

“This time, we do not consider it an option to tighten the controls,” says Vice Mayor Santiago Guarderas. “It must happen or we face a collapse of our health care system. If new restrictions had been applied when we requested them weeks ago we would not be in the situation we are currently experiencing. It is a life and death matter we face and the national government must respond.”

In a special session, the Quito COE asked permission for a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, a ban on all liquor sales, the right to eliminate the non-essential operation of private vehicles and a ban on public gatherings. The COE vote for tighter restrictions was unanimous.

Cuenca hospitals to decide who gets ventilators
Iván Feicán, manager of the Vicente Corral Moscoso public hospital, said Tuesday that all ventilators at the hospital were in operation and that soon hospital staff may be forced to decide which patients receive ventilation and which do not. “This will be a difficult decision based on several factors but, all things being equal, younger patients will have priority.” He said he was unsure of how many of the hospital’s 23 ventilators are being used by Covid-19 patients but said he believed it was a majority. Two ventilators are currently being used for sick infants in the pediatric ward.

Also on Tuesday, Azuay Governor Xavier Martínez said that the 21 ventilators at Cuenca’s Social Security hospital were also in use. “We are in a very delicate position as the public hospitals have reached saturation for intensive care beds,” he said, adding that the city is fortunate to have only 71 Covid-19 deaths to this point. “That is a low number for a city of 700,000 and we hope to keep it low.”

Police, military evict 400 swimmers from beach
A joint operation of army personnel and national police evicted 400 swimmers from the beach at Crucita on Tuesday. According to a police spokesman, the swimmers ignored posted signs prohibiting sunbathing and swimming. He said that officials met opposition in some cases and several arrests were made. Police also shut down eight of the 87 restaurants and food vending shops on the beach for lack of biosecurity measures. Silvio Larrea, director of the Office of Territorial Control said that under current plans, beaches in Manabi Province will reopen on July 22.

Aeroregional to begin Cuenca-Quito air service
Aeroregional airlines has reached an agreement with the Mariscal La Mar Airport authority to resume service between Cuenca and Quito. Previously, the airline had been denied flying rights due to a debt to the airport from early 2019. Aeroregional said it will offer flights on Tuesday, Friday, Thursday and Sunday beginning July 21. In an earlier announcement, the airline said it may add a Cuenca-Loja flight in the future. The airline, which is based in Cuenca, last operated at Mariscal La Mar in February 2019 when it suspended flights to Guayaquil, saying they were unprofitable.