This past Sunday afternoon, January 16, 2022, the National COE announced that the country is facing a worsening health situation due to a surge in Covid-19 infections. The Vice Minister of Public Health, José Ruales, reported that the second week of January registered the highest number of infections since the start of the pandemic.
In the week of Christmas, 4,000 new cases were registered; in New Year’s there were 8,000. And in the first week of January there were 15,000 new cases.
But this past week, there were 42,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported. Ruales said that all this comes as a result of crowds, parties, and shopping, among other activities that occurred during the holiday season.
Given this, a new health traffic light system was established at the canton level, based on each town’s situation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The provisions defined by the traffic light system will be in force during the week of January 17th to 23rd.
Under the system, cantons were ranked according to a new scheme to guarantee the provision of health services. Only two cantons are at minimal risk (green); 26 cantons are at medium risk (yellow) and 193 are at high risk (red).
In short, the restrictions limit the capacities that will be allowed in each canton for essential, non-essential and outdoor activities. In low-risk cantons, most activities are allowed at 75% capacity. In medium-risk cantons, activities are allowed at 50% capacity, and in high-risk cantons, activities are allowed at 30%.
Also, face-to-face classes will be allowed in the two cantons with a green traffic light; face-to-face classes in the medium-risk cantons can continue with restrictions; face-to-face classes are suspended in the 193 high-risk cantons.
The Ministry of labor has also asked business to follow capacity limits for workers, with the exclusion of the strategic sectors, who will need to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the provision of public services.
The full detailed resolution from the National COE can be found here: National COE Resolution for January 16, 2022
The next review regarding these measures will be held on Friday, January 21, 2022 at 3:00 p.m., said Juan Zapata, president of the National COE.
Cuenca adopts measures in response to national COE request
In accordance with the resolution from the National COE, municipal decentralized autonomous governments were urged to issue regulations to comply with risk strata for the various activities between January 17th and 23rd.
The Cantonal Emergency Operations Committee (COE) of Cuenca met on Sunday night to assess the health situation at the national and local levels after the National COE reported that the city—given a red traffic light classification—is at high risk of transmission of contagion of Covid-19.
The resolutions taken by the Cuenca Cantonal COE are the following:
- Reduce the capacity in restaurants, cinemas, theaters, gyms, spas, markets, financial entities, public offices of the Municipal Corporation to 30%.
- Suspend the pilot plans that were being developed in establishments such as bars, nightclubs, tolerance and entertainment centers for people over 18 years of age, for 15 days.
- Encourage private companies and private premises to ask their visitors for a vaccination card to enter their facilities.
- Maintain telecommuting in the Municipal Corporation, without affecting in any way the attention to citizens.
- Request citizens to complete vaccination and comply with all biosecurity measures in their activities.
- Order the entities of the Municipal Corporation to intensify the control operations of the measures provided in the current ordinance.
The COE also resolved to maintain the following resolutions that came out of its previous session, held on January 11, 2022:
- Maintain the suspension of the granting of land use authorizations for the development of public events and mass attendance of people.
- Request users of public transport in Cuenca to carry their vaccination card, for use in all modalities, in case of possible random controls carried out by control entities.
- The Terrestrial Terminal of Cuenca will install the following procedure: passengers will only be allowed to acquire tickets for the intraprovincial and interprovincial transport after presenting both their identity and vaccination cards.
In addition, due to being at a red light level, face-to-face classes are suspended. This applies to institutions of all tax, commission and private educational levels, according to the Ministry of Education.