Coronavirus (227) The New Humanitarian: Venezuela

26 March, 2020

The role of leading policymakers, especially heads of states, is critical for the global and national response to coronavirus. The New Humanitarian reports what is happening in Venezuela. Read online: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/03/25/venezuela-coronavirus...

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In Venezuela, a pandemic meets years of shortages and a broken health system

‘Coronavirus arrived in Venezuela at the worst possible moment.’

... Venezuela’s government announced on 24 March that COVID-19 infections had reached 91... “The government says wear masks, wash your hands often, and stay inside,” Gomez said. “But we don’t have water, we often don’t have electricity, and there are no masks.”...

[President] Maduro denies there are shortages in Venezuela, insisting in a national broadcast on 16 March that hospitals have all the mandatory equipment.

There is no news about when health workers will receive biosecurity equipment, which Maduro said was being shipped by China along with thousands of test kits.

He also claimed the country’s collapsed pharmaceutical industry would be able to produce both a treatment and a cure for coronavirus – neither of which exist.

He recommended to the nation a homemade “cure” promoted by one Venezuelan, one “given to us by our ancestors: pepper, lemon grass, honey and ginger”.

Although the World Health Organisation advises that only people suffering respiratory problems should wear masks, Maduro decreed: “No one can walk the streets without a mask.”

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org