Colombian president Ivan Duque ordered the border with Venezuela closed today effective 5:00 AM in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the region. The move comes a day after Venezuela confirmed its first two cases of the disease.

Duque also restricted access to the country to any foreigner who has been in Europe or Asia in the last 14 days.

The Colombian president explained the measures by saying:

With these [measures] we are protecting our country, and taking an additional step to facing this global pandemic.

Venezuela and Colombia share a border that is approximately 2,200 kilometers long. It is sparsely guarded, save for seven official crossings.

The Maduro regime was quick to lash out at Duque’s move, with foreign affairs minister Jorge Arreaza calling the measure “irrational”. In a tweet, Arreaza lamented that the decision to close the border was taken without consulting Caracas, and suggested that closing the border would only hasten the spread of the virus as it would force people to cross undetected.

Maduro Gov’t Orders All Museums, Movie Theaters Closed

Vice president Delcy Rodriguez announced today that the Maduro government was taking additional measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The measures including the immediate closure of several establishments, as well as a ban on “massive public events”.

Rodriguez, who heads the government’s COVID-19 task force, said:

Massive public events are banned. Movie theaters and museums will be closed.

Rodriguez also said that restaurants will still be allowed to operate, but that they will only be allowed to sell food for take-out.

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