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  • Police carry out controls to prevent the presence of people and vendors on the streets, Quito, Ecuador, March 17, 2020.

    Police carry out controls to prevent the presence of people and vendors on the streets, Quito, Ecuador, March 17, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 March 2020
Opinion

Measures to stop the Covid-19 spread affect street vendors and other informal workers.

Social organizations Monday warned of the vulnerability faced by many Venezuelans in Ecuador due to mobility restrictions implemented to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"The percentage of Venezuelans who work informally, as well as the percentage of those who work without a visa, is worrisome. Some of their employers have warned them that they will not be paid on the days they do not work," Daniel Regalado, the president of the "Venezuela in Ecuador" NGO, denounced.

Difficulties in working and paying rent, however, are not the only thing that puts migrants at risk. The charities also highlight that many Venezuelans do not have an income that allows them to buy "buy masks or basic goods."

To expose the type of problems Venezuelans are facing amidst the Covid-19 emergency, Regalado related the case of a young couple living in Quito who has been presenting symptoms of a respiratory condition for several days.

However, at the emergency phone service enabled by the authorities to report such cases, "they have not been attended because they are Venezuelans," Regalado denounced and added that this case has been brought to the attention of the Ombudsman's Office.

On Monday night, the Ecuadorian national government decreed several measures to limit the movement of people and vehicles.

In Quito, the capital city, Mayor Jorge Yunda took even more restrictive measures that will affect the daily work of street vendors, many of whom are precisely Venezuelans.

Among these measures are “the suspension of the use of public space,” which includes sidewalks, driveways, and parks.

Over the last day, the number of Covid-19 cases increased from 58 to 111 in this country, which was experiencing a severe economic slowdown before the arrival of the pandemic.

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