QUITO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's National Emergency Operations Committee decided on Thursday to stop using the color-coded risk monitoring system and further relax restrictions from Feb. 21, following a "clear" drop in COVID-19 infections.
After the peak of the pandemic in the second week of January, the number of infections has dropped and hospitals have been decongested in recent weeks, thanks to the high vaccination rate among the population, Health Minister Ximena Garzon said during a press conference on Thursday.
Garzon said that related deaths are also "minimal," despite a spike in infections at the end of December due to the Omicron variant.
"We have very good news. We are reopening again. We are activating our country, our economy," she said.
Starting from Feb. 21, Ecuador will suspend the color-coded monitoring system which was launched on May 4, 2021, to serve as a kind of traffic light for regions to assess when and how rapidly to lift restrictions.
In addition, the capacity limit of indoor spaces will be increased to 80 percent, and that of outdoor spaces will be removed. Civil servants will stop teleworking, and university students will also return to in-person classes.
Among other measures, the committee, which has managed the health crisis at the national level, decided to reopen the land border between Ecuador and Peru on Friday. ■