Ecuador to 'color-code' regions ahead of lockdown's easing

Quito (AFP) –


Ecuador will gradually ease restrictions after seven weeks of coronavirus lockdown, the president said, with cities colour-coded according to their risk level.

The South American country has recorded over 22,000 COVID-19 infections and almost 600 deaths, according to the US Johns Hopkins tally.

Lenin Moreno confirmed Sunday Ecuador's borders would remain shut, there would be no travel allowed between provinces, and big-crowd events remain banned and schools suspended.

But from May 4 he said regions "depending on their health indicators" would be identified according to traffic-light colors -- red, yellow and green -- and "this will determine the gradual and careful reopening of some sectors."

Red areas will remain under shutdown orders, although online delivery services would be expanded.

But yellow and green regions will see transport restrictions partially lifted, curfew hours scaled back, up to 70 percent of employees allowed to return to work, and some shops reopened.

However, Moreno emphasized: "At the slightest indication of the virus re-emerging, the initial situation of isolation and curfew will return".