Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ecuador to maintain business and movement restrictions through May 31. Various regional vehicular restrictions, curfew schedules in effect.

This alert affects Ecuador

This alert began 21 May 2020 15:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Ecuador are maintaining their "social distancing" phase of restrictions, which was initiated May 4, while maintaining varied restrictive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under this phase, cantons and municipalities nationwide will continue to implement color-coded restrictions of red, yellow, or green, which restrict movement and business to different degrees. Most of the country remains under code red; however, beginning May 21, certain municipalities will move into the yellow phase of restrictions. The largest population center that will move to code yellow is Guayaquil. Local officials have indicated that Quito will also move into the yellow phase from May 26, depending on local disease activity and city-wide preparedness.

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 restrictions enforced under each color code will determine the extent to which businesses, public and private institutions, and public transport may reopen, as well as curfew hours and vehicular restrictions.

Under code red, which accounts for most of the country, a daily 1400-0500 curfew will be enforced, while only the following vehicles will be allowed on roads:

  • 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


Under code yellow, which includes parts of Guayas province and highly localized areas of Azuay, Loja, Morono Santiago, Sucumbios, and Zamora-Chinchipe provinces, a daily 2100-0500 curfew will be enforced, while only the following vehicles will be allowed on roads:

  • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 2, or 7
  • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3, 4, 5 or 8
  • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5, 6, or 9
  • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 6, 7, 8, or 0
  • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 9, or 0
  • Saturdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 2, 3, or 4
  • Sundays: No private vehicles allowed on the streets


Under code green, which only includes Aguarico, Orellano Province, a daily 2359-0500 curfew will be enforced, while only the following vehicles will be allowed on roads:

  • License plates ending in odd numbers: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays
  • License plates ending in even numbers: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays


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 and personnel involved in the transportation of food, health, and hygiene products, as well as members of the health sector, are exempt from 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 Ecuador's slowdown in infections, a greater ability to carry out tests, and a significant drop in emergency services responses. Nonetheless, the government has decided to maintain the State of Exception order over the disease outbreak through at least June 15. 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. 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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