Ecuador's National Emergency Operations Committee (COE), which is responsible for handling the country's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, has relaxed vehicular restrictions during the Independence Day holiday weekend from Friday, August 7, to Monday, August 10. Under measures introduced by the COE to control the spread of COVID-19, the circulation of private cars has been restricted based on number plates. However, over the weekend private vehicles can circulate freely, regardless of where the canton sits in the red, amber, green, traffic light restriction system established by the COE. The curfew in cantons under red in the traffic light system will also be relaxed slightly over the weekend, starting an hour later at 19:00 (local time) instead of 18:00, and still ending at 05:00.
The traffic light system was established on July 1, with all cantons determining their own level depending on COVID-19 infection rates, with the exception of Quito, which has stricter measures enforced. Under the different levels in the color system, different curfew times apply (with none for those in green) and different capacity levels are permitted in shops, on public transport, and in other public places. An interactive map showing the color under which each canton falls can be found here.
Quarantine measures imposed in Quito, which is classed as amber under the traffic light system, from July 31 to Wednesday, August 12, include a Monday to Thursday curfew from 19:00 to 05:00, and a Friday to Sunday curfew from 19:00 to 05:00. Alcohol sales are prohibited from Friday to Sunday, except in some restaurants and tourist areas, where sales are still limited. Social gatherings and business meetings are banned and shops and restaurants are only permitted to operate at thirty percent capacity. Cinemas and theatres remain closed and ID must be carried at all times.
A nationwide state of emergency is currently in place until Saturday, August 15. Measures in place under the state of emergency include the mandatory use of face masks in public spaces, the closures of schools, bars, nightclubs, and playgrounds, and the prohibition of public gatherings. International commercial flights resumed limited operations on June 1. All arriving passengers must present a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test taken up to seven days prior to departure, or if unable to do so will have to take a test at the airport. All passengers must fill out a declaration form to provide their itinerary and contact details and are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period. Land borders with Colombia and Peru remain closed until further notice.
As of Saturday, August 8, health officials in Ecuador have confirmed 92,969 cases of COVID-19, with 5897 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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