The World Health Organisation (WHO) has positioned Ecuador as one of the worst affected countries in the region for the rate of infection, and fatality rate from COVID-19. The Government has responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a series of quarantine measures to protect the population and support the economy. These include closing schools and universities, public spaces and non-critical commercial activities, halting public transport, and imposing curfew.
Ecuador closed its borders on the 18th March. Due to the situation of the Guayas Province (75% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country), the Government requested the joint command of the armed forces to manage the province as a zone of national security, with the objective to enforce confinement measures. Guayas has the highest rate of unemployment in Ecuador in relation to its population and this makes the situation especially challenging, as most of the population depends on informal work.
It has been difficult for many Ecuadorians to follow the quarantine measures. It is estimated that 400,000 Ecuadorian families derive their income through selling goods on a day-to-day basis. One of the measures to alleviate the economic losses is the introduction of US$120 contingency bonus for these families and the delivery of food rations and necessities.