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Is Venezuela ready to receive the coronavirus?

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  • Is Venezuela ready to receive the coronavirus?


    Is Venezuela ready to receive the coronavirus?
    Monday, March 2, 2020 International

    Venezuela is not prepared to face the possible arrival of the coronavirus. The experts consulted by Efe are emphatic in their statement: the lack of medicines and supplies, the difficulties of the public health sector and the lack of diagnostic centers are reasons that discourage this possibility.

    Although the Government has expanded epidemiological surveillance, as explained last week by the Minister of Health, Carlos Alvarado, it is insufficient to face the eventual entry of this virus into the country, since it requires very strict measures with which no Venezuela says, in the opinion of infectious doctors Julio Castro and Jaime Torres.


    While the Nicol?s Maduro Executive intends to reassure the population with the activation of a "health emergency operations center" and "a national biosafety committee to study the whole issue that has to do with the management of the coronavirus," Experts say the protocol is insufficient.

    In addition, the Government maintains an epidemiological surveillance system activated in five international airports since last month, during which time “patients have been followed up until now from China (where the epidemic originated)” and for the moment “none from them he has developed symptoms, ”Alvarado said.

    But as explained by the infectologist doctor Castro to Efe, it is not enough, since “it is a big issue, because it involves training of human resources, supplies, medicines, information, surveillance system and notification (of cases). The minister said there is technical equipment for diagnosis, but that is not all the preparation.

    For his part, Dr. Torres does not doubt that there are detection kits in Venezuela, but he remarks on the problem that there are not many diagnostic centers prepared and on “the difficulties of the public health sector, hospital capacity, ability to provide services".


    Castro wonders how many doctors in the Venezuelan health system are prepared to diagnose, make isolation or protection measures for the equipment and measures Venezuela by international reports where a country's readiness index is calculated based on its outcome indicators: ? We are among the last in the world ?.

    Torres goes further and extends the poor preparation to "a large part of the countries of the Latin American region", which "are not prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus, and that includes Venezuela."

    "The only way to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading is with very strict, very massive measures, with the participation of the population, health and safety authorities that are not easy to implement," says the doctor, who believes that the country The Caribbean is not trained to face an epidemic of these characteristics.


    In Latin America, cases of coronavirus, suspected or confirmed, are still counted on the fingers of one hand and in Venezuela none have yet been reported.

    The first affected in the region was registered in Brazil, where there are already two cases, which set off alarms in Venezuela and boosted the surveillance of international ports and border crossings, and led the Government to reassure the population announcing that the country has with virus detection kits.

    Then four cases were detected in Mexico and this weekend was alerted to the presence of a new infected person in Ecuador and another in the Dominican Republic, both cases from Spain and Italy respectively.


    Both infectologists, Castro and Torres, point out that one of the problems is that there is no official information regarding any disease in Venezuela, since the Epidemiological Bulletin has not been published since 2017.

    "There are data on some diseases that are reported to regional health authorities and that goes to the Pan American Health Organization, but in Venezuela there are no figures," Torres tells EFE.

    The precedent is the previous epidemics of Zika and Chikungunya, both diseases that have spread strongly in Latin America.

    ?In those other epidemics we did not know the cases. The Venezuelan government made very late official notification. There were a few thousand cases, about 2,000, which were the ones that tested positive for blood tests. Our calculations is that it could have reached 20-25% of the population, ”says Castro.


    During a recent government activity broadcast on national radio and television networks, Maduro said that “there are many analyzes in the world that show that the coronavirus can be a strain created for the biological war against China (…) and against the peoples of the world ?. Venezuela, he said, "fortunately" has a plan to face "this attack."

    However, he did not detail what analysis he refers to and, if there is one, the president's words would only confirm that "it can be ...", leaving in the air a possibility that leaves a big question open...