QUITO, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador on Monday lifted pandemic lockdown restrictions designed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including a nighttime curfew and ban on social gatherings.
The changes came as a nationwide state of emergency decreed on Feb. 29 in response to the health crisis expired at midnight.
Safety and social distancing measures, such as the use of face masks and hand sanitizers, remain in place.
As part of this "new normal" phase, local governments will be in charge of monitoring their outbreaks and adopting restrictions if there is a rise in infections.
The Ministry of Public Health on Monday said tests detected 317 new cases of infection in the previous 24 hours and 19 more deaths from the virus, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 118,911 and the death toll to 7,138, since the start of the outbreak.
Another 3,784 deaths are likely to have been caused by COVID-19, but have not been verified, according to the ministry.
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