Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner responded to complaints Tuesday night about the extension of the national curfew, which begins today at 2 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. “Many people tell me that concentrating food shopping into fewer hours increases the transmission risk of Covid-19,” he said. “I understand the concern but it is incorrect.”
According to Sonnenholzner, almost 90 percent of shopping under the old curfew was conducted between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. based on information provided by the stores. “The change will have little impact on the overall concentration of people, and it may actually decrease because food outlets [including Tia, Supermaxi, Coral and SuperAki] have agreed to open earlier.”
The vice president added that food shopping is not the only reason people leave their homes during non-curfew hours. “In fact, a minority of people on the streets are actually shopping for food. Many have no legitimate reason to be out but it is difficult to police their purposes, so the new curfew hours increase public protection. It is much easier for authorities to enforce the curfew than the time in which people can be away from their homes for a variety of reasons, both allowed and not.”
Sonnenholzner also said that the health emergency rules that Ecuador has adopted are not arbitrary but based on scientific reseach. “We are following the guidelines of the CDC and WHO [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization] in all our planning.
More younger people are being infected
Ecuador is reinforcing a recent trend in Covid-19 cases with a higher number of younger victims. The World Health Organzation says that reports from Italy, Spain, France and the U.S. indicate that infection is becoming more common in adults aged 30 to 65. Some researchers believe a mutation in the virus is responsible. In Ecuador, 44 percent of all virus deaths are of those aged 54 to 64, according the risk management office.
President blasts ‘selfish behavior’ in Guayaquil
“People in some areas are ignoring government rules and endangering the health of those who obey the law,” President Lenin Moreno said Tuesday. Specifically, he pointed to Guayas Province, where large groups of people are still seen on the streets and other public areas, many of them sharing drinks and food. “Guayas is a hotspot for the coronavirus and it will get even hotter if citizens do not follow the rules,” he said, announcing the deployment of more military personnel to assist with enforcing stay-at-home orders.
As of Tuesday night, 844 of Ecuador’s 1,116 confirmed Covid-19 cases were in Guayas Province.
Supermarkets adjust hours for curfew
Ecuador supermarket chains have announced earlier opening hours in response to new curfew hours that now begin at 2 in the afternoon. Tía says it will be open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m while Supermaxi, Megamaxi and Coral will open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The stores they will adjust their hours as needed.
Seniors allowed to shop in Guayaquil markets
The city of Guayaquil has made an exception to its ban on senior citizens in public markets. Under an order signed by Mayor Cynthia Viteri, the elderly are allowed to shop from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. The mayor said the change was made because of the large number of people over the age of 65 who do not have relatives to shop for them.