The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) In Venezuela, with a health system collapsed by the Nicolas Maduro regime and the majority of the population without continuous access to soap and water, represents a danger for the entire region if it is not controlled, a senior US official warned Thursday.
“The situation in Venezuela is extremely dire (…) If Venezuela cannot cope with the COVID-19, in the future this will go to Brazil, Colombia and the surrounding region as we are seeing with the refugee crisis, “he assured Carrie Filipetti, US undersecretary of state for Cuba and Venezuela, in a video conference.
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“We will see an expansion of the pandemic of COVID-19 in the region, if not globally, if Venezuela as a country cannot face the crisis, ”the diplomat anticipated in a virtual conference organized by the Council of the Americas (AS / COA), based in New York.
Millions at risk
Coronavirus (COVID-19) finds Venezuela in an acute political crisis and the economy devastated by six consecutive years of recession, rampant inflation, and a tremendous depreciation of the local currency.
Added to this is the collapse in public services and the shortage of food and medicine in oil power that have caused the flight of the country of some five million Venezuelans, according to the UN.
“The lives of millions of Venezuelans are in danger because of a pandemic that cannot be attended with a collapsed health system,” said David Smolansky, coordinator of the Organization of American States’ working group on Venezuelan migrants and refugees, in the same video conference ( OAS).
According to Filipetti, the country only has 84 beds in intensive care units for a population of about 30 million people.
“This means that the minute Venezuela reaches more than 1,500 cases, it will not have the capacity to handle this crisis,” Filipetti said.
In addition, 44% of hospitals do not have electricity continuously and 66% do not have running water 24 hours, he said. 64% lack X-ray equipment, and 90% do not have protocols for respiratory care against coronavirus (COVID-19).
“One in three Venezuelans does not have food every day (…) Either you go out and try to get some food, or you remain in quarantine and starve,” warned the deputy of the Venezuelan National Assembly Manuela. Bolivar. “We cannot expect people in this condition to stay home.”
Lack of information
Nicolas Maduros government reports 106 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country, but opposition leader Juan Guaido assures that they are more.
A journalist was detained in Venezuela on Saturday after posting messages on Twitter that questioned the official figures on the spread of the coronavirus, denounced the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP). His whereabouts are still unknown.
“There is no real information on how serious this is for Venezuela,” said the diplomat, referring to the contagious coronavirus that has already killed more than 22,000 people worldwide and is also spreading throughout Latin America, although not yet at the rate of Europe or the United States. United.
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Venezuela decreed a national quarantine and the suspension of work and school activities, except for the distribution of food, health, basic services, communications and security.
President Nicolas Maduro also ordered the mandatory use of face masks in markets, pharmacies and hospitals, and suspended all flights, except cargo flights.
In the midst of the crisis, Nicolas Maduro – accused Thursday of “narcoterrorism” before a New York court – also prescribed an alleged antidote for the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is made with honey, malhojillo, ginger and lemon, among other herbal ingredients.
Several scientists assured AFP that this homemade medicine does not cure coronavirus (COVID-19), although the president insists that it does.
In anticipation of a serious crisis, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, demanded this week that the economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela be relaxed or suspended “for humanitarian reasons.”
He also called for “to agree on quick and flexible authorizations to obtain essential medical goods and equipment.”