Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ecuador extends business and movement restrictions through May 31. Vehicular restrictions, 1400-0500 curfew extended until further notice.

This alert affects Ecuador

This alert began 04 May 2020 12:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 31
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Ecuador will begin their new "social distancing" phase of restrictions May 4, to allow for the reactivation of the economy, while maintaining certain measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under this phase, cantons and municipalities nationwide will implement color-coded restrictions of red, yellow, or green, which restrict movement and business to different degrees. As of late May 3, almost all municipalities are under code red; only three have not provided information on their status. The government has stated that municipalities that fail to provide their decisions will also begin on code red.

Regardless of the municipal-level color coding, certain existing nationwide measures will continue to be enforced through at least May 31. Persons 60 years of age or older and people with health difficulties must remain in self-quarantine. All individuals are required to wear a protective face mask in public. All public gatherings and social, cultural, and sporting events will remain suspended, and education facilities will stay closed. All inter-provincial passenger ground travel is suspended, except for cargo transportation. Persons needing to travel between provinces, including to the airport, are required to produce Mobilization Authorization forms (salvoconducto).

The following additional measures will be enforced across most of the country under code red until further notice:

  • A daily 1400-0500 curfew will continue.
  • Most nonessential business remains suspended, where telecommuting is not possible.
  • Telephonic and online commercial activity will be authorized.
  • Home delivery services may be conducted between 0700-2200.
  • Taxi services may be carried out between 0500-2200, according to license plate restrictions.
  • Current restrictions on private vehicles will continue under code red according to the following schedule:
    • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 or 2
    • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 or 4
    • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 or 6
    • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 or 8
    • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 or 0
    • Saturdays and Sundays: No private vehicles allowed on the streets


Other international movement restrictions will continue until further notice. The country's borders are closed to all travelers, including Ecuadorian nationals and residents. There are no restrictions on departures; however, repatriation options are severely limited. All international and inter-provincial passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo transportation, personnel involved in the transportation of food, health, and hygiene products, as well as members of the health sector, are exempt from the restrictions.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures imposed by Ecuador's government are similar to those taken by other governments in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. President Lenin Moreno stated the decision to move the country into a new phase of social distancing from May 4 was motivated by the need to revive the economy, as well as by Ecuador's slowdown in infections, a greater ability to carry out tests, and a significant drop in emergency services responses. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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