Maduro announced today that there were 61 new cases of COVID-19 detected in the country over the past day, and claimed that every one of them was brought into the country by someone who had recently been abroad.
That line–that the COVID-19 outbreak in the country is primarily the fault of Venezuelans who have come back from abroad–has been at the heart of the Maduro government’s response to the pandemic, turning the daily updates from government officials into opportunities to attack political rivals abroad.
During today’s update, Maduro said that the fact that so many Venezuelans were coming back to the country infected by COVID-19 was due to the fact that they were fleeing hunger and disease abroad. He said:
They’re coming back, fleeing the coronavirus, the coronahunger. They’ve come back from Ecuador (…) the virus is spreading through Venezuela, and it came in from Colombia and Brazil.
Maduro also repeated the baseless claim that Colombian President Ivan Duque was deliberately sending infected persons to Venezuela in order to spread the disease in the country. Maduro said:
They wanted to contaminate Venezuela from Colombia. They’ll pay for that.
Maduro also announced that, despite a rising trend in the number of cases, the country would enter what he calls the “7 + 7” phase: seven days of quarantine, followed by seven days of being able to leave one’s home. Despite the government’s announcements, however, quarantine efforts have been largely ignored by a large number of Venezuelans who need to leave their homes on a daily basis to earn an income or find food.
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