Ecuador’s capital lifts restrictions on traffic despite outbreak

QUITO: Traffic picked up in Ecuador’s capital Quito on Sunday, after local officials lifted pandemic lockdown restrictions on vehicles, allowing them all to circulate.
The move aimed to restart economic activity in the city following months of limiting the number of cars on the road according to odd or even license plate numbers, despite Quito still being the epicenter of Ecuador’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Residents went out in droves, especially to city parks, traditional spots for Sunday family outings.
Face masks continue to be mandatory even inside vehicles, according to a municipal ordinance, with violators facing a 100-U.S. dollar fine.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, Quito registered a total of 30,557 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, after detecting another 383 infections in the previous 24 hours.
Nationally, Ecuador has registered 126,419 cases of COVID-19 and 7,296 deaths from the disease, after 799 new cases and 8 more deaths were reported in the same 24-hour period.
Another 3,794 deaths are considered to have been caused by COVID-19, but have not been verified, the ministry said.
Furthermore, Ecuador’s active Sangay Volcano on Sunday registered a significant uptick in volcanic activity, including several strong explosions and ash emissions, the Geophysical Institute (IG) of Ecuador said.
Activity increased from 04:20 a.m. local time (09:20 GMT) with seismic tremors that were more intense than any “observed in the preceding months,” the institute said.
Satellite images showed a large ash cloud rising up to 10 kilometers above the volcano’s crater.
Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador and has been in constant eruptive activity since 1628, when it last erupted.–Agencies