“If the coronavirus doesn’t kill us, the government will,” the leader of a trade union in the city told Reuters news agency.
The mayor of Quito, Jorge Yundo Machado, called for “good sense” on Twitter. “Let’s look for different ways to protest, but not in person,” he said, adding that there was a “high risk of contagion, we are in a health emergency”.
Interior Minister María Paula Romo told reporters that an estimated 4,000 people had taken part in demonstrations nationwide, and that one policeman had been injured.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) described South America as a “new epicentre of the disease”.
Brazil, which has recorded more than 23,000 deaths, has the second-highest number of confirmed infections in the world. Ecuador’s neighbour Peru, meanwhile, has more than 120,000 cases.