Ecuador’s largest city allowed some businesses to reopen on Wednesday following a fall in daily deaths from the coronavirus pandemic that had for weeks required the city to remain in quarantine.
Guayaquil in March and April faced a brutal outbreak of the virus that left hospitals overwhelmed and authorities struggling to collect the bodies of presumed COVID-19 victims.
Public transportation and private vehicles were again circulating in the coastal city on Wednesday and open-air markets and shopping malls began opening their doors. Bars, restaurants, and movie theaters remain closed.
Guayaquil’s municipal government said in a social media video that daily death rates linked to COVID-19 in Guayaquil had dropped to around 10 per day in May from a peak of 460 in April.
“In the home there is hunger, outside there is the coronavirus,” Mayor Cynthia Viteri told reporters. “We have to find a balance so that people can work and take care of themselves.”
Municipal offices opened to the public with limited hours. The city is maintaining a curfew and some restrictions on vehicle traffic. Domestic and international flights remain halted.
Ecuador officially has 34 854 infections and 2 888 deaths from the virus. But the government recognizes that the figures are probably much higher because of limited testing.