Vehicle use based on ‘honor system’; UK and EU travelers subject to new Covid-19 testing; Another IMF loan is delivered; Covid infects Antarctica
The municipal transportation authority (EMOV) said it will not issue safe conduct documents and will depend on drivers to observe the odd-even driving and curfew rules unless they have a valid reason to be on the road.
“We are depending on the driving public to obey the emergency health declaration restrictions of December 21,” said Azuay Governor José Jaramillo. “Under the circumstances, we do not have the time or resources to issue new documents on a case-by-case basis but we will conduct routine checks of vehicles to make sure drivers are authorized to be on the streets and highways.”
Under rules established in March and April by the national Emergency Operations Committee, only drivers with authorized purposes are allowed to drive on days when they are otherwise not allowed to drive or when the nighttime curfew is in effect. Those authorized to drive during those times are: Members of the public and private health care sector; emergency responders and public and private security workers; road repair crews; personnel delivering or providing basic services such as electricity, water, garbage collection and drinking water; those delivery food, medicine or health supplies; professional journalists; those driving under emergency conditions, such as taking a patient to the hospital or doctor’s appointment; and officials of the National Elections Council.
Old safe conduct documents will be honored. Those without documents must present the reasons for driving and show IDs and drivers licenses when stopped at street checks by EMOV or transit police.
Travelers from the UK and EU subject to additional testing
The national Emergency Operations Committee is requiring that air travelers arriving from Great Britain, countries of the European Union, South Africa and Australia undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airports in Quito and Guayaquil. Travelers from those countries will also be required to present results of a negative Covid test conducted within 10 days of their arrival, a requirement of all international arrivals.
The new testing rule is the result of the discovery of variant of Covid-19 in the UK and South Africa that is said to be 70 percent more contagious than other strains of the virus. Unlike some other countries in Latin America, Ecuador has not placed a ban on flights from the UK or EU.
Another IMF loan is delivered
Ecuador has received another installment of its loan from the International Monetary Fund. On Thursday, $2 billion was transferred to the Central Bank. According to treasury officials, the funds will be used to support the country’s response to the Covid pandemic and to improve financial liquidity. In addition, Finance Minister Mauricio Pozo said the money would be used to pay debts to local governments and private contractors.
Covid arrives in Antarctica
Cases of the Covid-19 virus have now been recorded on all of the earth’s continents. On Tuesday, the government of Chile announced that 36 members of a team at its Bernardo O’Higgins Research Station on Antarctica have been infected. The government said that 26 of those infected were military personnel while 10 were civilian scientists. The announcement reported that all of those testing positive are in “relatively good health” and are being quarantined for 10 days. The O’Higgins station is located in the Magallanes region of Antarctica.
Tram reduces hours of operation
In compliance with the state of emergency, the tram will end nighttime service at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. According to the management office, the tram is currently providing 21,000 trips per day.