Mayor of Quito, Ecuador chides residents for lax anti-COVID-19 measures

QUITO, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The mayor of Ecuador's capital Quito, Jorge Yunda, on Sunday urged residents to abide by measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) even as the city relaxes lockdown restrictions.

"Going about freely is meant for us to reactivate (the economy) safely, not for us to lament a rise in infections," Yunda posted on Twitter.

His post was in reaction to a report that more than 600 people were gathered Saturday along an avenue in the south of Quito, flouting basic safety measures, such as wearing a face mask and social distancing.

It was a holiday weekend in Ecuador, as people celebrated Day of the Dead and the independence of the southern city of Cuenca, the country's third-largest metropolis.

Vehicles were allowed to circulate freely during the long weekend to support local businesses.

Yunda, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week and remains in quarantine without major health complications, has been calling on residents to take greater responsibility in reducing the size of the outbreak.

"Be wise in this unpredictable pandemic," he warned, since economies such as Ecuador's "would not endure another lockdown," as is happening in parts of Europe, said Yunda.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, Quito registered 438 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, for a total caseload of 54,729.

Meanwhile, nationwide, tests detected 1,002 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of infections since the start of the pandemic here on Feb. 29 to 169,194.

Additionally, the ministry reported 12,684 people have died from the pandemic, the sum of 8,371 confirmed deaths and 4,313 probable deaths.

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