Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez announced today that there were seven new cases of COVID-19 detected in Venezuela over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of official cases in the country to 318.

According to Rodriguez, four of the new cases were detected in individuals living in Margarita island, while the other three were detected in the border state of Tachira. Rodriguez also claimed that the three cases detected in Tachira all involved individuals who recently arrived in the country from abroad: two from Colombia, and one from the united States.

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in Venezuela on March 13, the Maduro government has mounted a concerted effort to downplay the rate at which the virus has been spreading in the country. This effort has included highlighting when cases can be traced to a source outside of Venezuela, likely in an attempt to downplay the possibility that community transmission is already infecting Venezuelans.

Venezuela Oil Benchmark Hits Lowest Level in 20+ Years

The price for Venezuela’s oil benchmark ended the week at $9.98 per barrel, a level not seen since 1998.

Just three days ago, a defiant Maduro said on television that the country would survive any drop in oil prices, even if the price hit $10 per barrel.

The price of Venezuelan oil is officially calculated in Yuan. The Maduro government made the switch over from the US Dollar in late 2017 in a symbolic attempt to bring an end to the “tyranny of the dollar”. 

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