Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Nationwide movement, vehicular restrictions and 1400-0500 curfew likely to continue through May 3 due to COVID-19. Disruptions ongoing.
This alert affects Ecuador
This alert began 26 Apr 2020 10:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 05:00 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Through at least May 3
- Impact: Movement and travel restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions
Authorities in Ecuador will likely continue to impose existing movement and business restrictions through at least May 3, as part of the government's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials announced the country will begin a new phase of social distancing from May 4, to allow for the gradual reopening of certain businesses, industries, and institutions. The specifications of the new measures will be announced over the coming days.
Under current restrictions, the 1400-0500 curfew will continue. The country maintains its provincial color-coding restrictions of red, yellow, or green depending on the prevalence of COVID-19, which restricts movement and business to different degrees. All provinces are under code red as of April 26; this level is unlikely to change nationwide until the new social distancing phase begins May 4. Restrictions on private vehicles will also continue 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
Residents are only allowed to make essential trips to stock up on food or medicine. Officials have ordered residents to use a protective mask whenever they leave their homes. Most nonessential businesses remain closed, where telecommuting is not possible. Supermarkets, pharmacies, fuel stations, and some banks remain open. Vehicular movement will continue to be allowed throughout the week for essential services such as food and medicine distribution, security, and medical emergencies. All public gatherings and social, cultural, and sporting events will remain suspended even indefinitely, and education facilities will stay closed.
Other international and internal 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, and all inter-provincial passenger ground travel is prohibited until further notice. Persons wishing to depart the country are required to produce Mobilization Authorization forms (salvoconducto) for any travel between provinces and to the airport. Cargo air and ground transport continues to operate.
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. 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.
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
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.