Reuters published a report today in which it revealed that every COVID-19 test conducted in Venezuela is verified by “a single, overstretched lab in Caracas“. The bottleneck means that the number of confirmed cases of the virus in Venezuela is “artificially low”, given that the lab cannot keep up with the testing backlog.

Reuters spoke to “nine senior medial workers involved in Venezuela’s” COVID-19 response, all of whom asked to remain anonymous “for fear of reprisals”.

One of the professionals told Reuters that the flaws in Venezuela’s testing system means that the true toll of the coronavirus in the country might never be known:

They said the lack of transparency on case counts and fatalities means even top public health officials don’t know how far or how fast the virus is spreading in Venezuela. Authorities have detained medical workers and opposition politicians who publicly criticized the readiness of their local hospitals.

“They are keeping this information very close, and we never know the real figures,” said a senior medical worker at a top Caracas health body. “But you can’t cover the sun with a single finger, and this will reach a point when they can’t hide it.”

Gov’t Announces 23 New Cases of COVID-19

Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez announced this evening that the total number of cases of COVID-19 in the country had risen to 227, after 23 new cases were added to the tally over the last 24 hours.

Venezuelan Oil Price Falls to $13.03

The price for a barrel of Venezuelan oil fell this week to $13.03, down $3.88 from a week earlier. The number places the the price of the commodity close to its 1997 levels, when oil averaged a price of $16.32.

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