The Maduro government announced a series of drastic measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, as it confirmed 198 new cases of the disease and three deaths over the past 24 hours.
During the daily COVID-19 briefing, vice president Delcy Rodriguez asked all Venezuelans to “stay at home this week”, and announced that 10 states would be submitted to additional quarantine measures starting on Monday June 22. The measures include shutting down the Caracas subway, restricting vehicular traffic on roads, and ordering the closure of non-essential businesses.
The affected states are:
- Capital District (Caracas)
- La Guaira
The Maduro government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been mired in controversy and disinformation. The fact that the government announced single-digit increases in the number of new cases for weeks gave rise to a false sense of security that the outbreak was under control in Venezuela. In mid-April, Reuters reported that the likely reason for the low number of confirmed cases was, at least partially, due to the fact that “a single, overstretched Caracas lab” was responsible for verifying all the tests conducted in the country, creating a bottleneck in confirmed cases.
Moreover, the Maduro government has made it a point to emphasize that the overwhelming majority of cases in the country have been “imported”, meaning that they were brought into Venezuela by an individual who contracted the disease abroad. Aside from stigmatizing COVID-19 positive individuals, the repeated assertions also served to downplay the fact that the virus is spreading in communities across the country.
There have been 3,798 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country since the outbreak began there in March, and 33 deaths.
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