Flights from Panama and Dominican Republic Are Suspended

New coronavirus cases are confirmed in Venezuela and the whole nation goes from "business as usual" to full-on quarantine in hours; Two journalists are arrested for the video of alleged new infections; The military comes in to help enforce the regime's measures.

Photo: BluRadio, retrieved.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. On Thursday, Maduro said that the first 30 cases they tested were negative. On Friday, the first two cases were confirmed, in Miranda, a woman and a man who had traveled to Spain. On Saturday night, Jorge Rodríguez, Nicolás’s Communications minister, reported that eight further cases have been confirmed: six men and two women. The cases are distributed as follows: four in Miranda, one in Apure, one in Aragua and one in Cojedes. The eight case is a crew member in a flight from Spain. Rodríguez said that new patients are being cared for, that they’re running tests on people who came from Europe and that they tested over 20 people on Saturday. 
  • Jorge Rodríguez reported that Nicolás’s government decided to suspend from Saturday and for 30 days, flights to and from Panama and the Dominican Republic. They also suspended flights to and from Colombia and Europe on Friday. The minister said that they visited 46 “sentinel” hospitals to confirm their situation, 4,800 beds in 500 CDIs and that the mandatory use of masks in the Caracas subway and trains was enforced almost completely. On Sunday, Nicolás will announce “selective quarantine” in several regions. “If you want to be safe, stay home,” said Rodríguez. He didn’t explain how there are two cases in Apure and Cojedes. It’s absurd and truly concerning: if there’s already domestic transmission, we should be focusing in prevention, washing hands, enforcing social distancing (at least one mt.), not touching our faces and not using masks unless you already have symptoms. Masks don’t stop the virus, washing our hands does. 
  • Earlier, Delcy Rodríguez said that the chavista government requested technical assistance from the WHO to contain the virus: “Using diplomatic channels, Nicolás (…) sent a letter requesting technical assistance against COVID-19,” she said, adding that they’d be receiving test kits within the next few days. The regime’s vice-president asked people who came back to the country in March from Europe to stay quarantined for two weeks. 
  • Journalist Ibéyise Pacheco tweeted that in a meeting between Nicolás’s Health minister, Carlos Alvarado and representatives of the Venezuelan Association of Private Hospitals, the minister asked how many beds were available to fight the pandemic and how many beds for intensive care patients: “73 in the entire country, in public and private hospitals.” The journalist added: “It’s even worse, because there’s no personnel to see the people infected. Prepare for Maduro’s lies. That’s why they persecute journalists, to stop the truth from getting out.” 
  • Let us be clear: as in the rest of the world, every serious case of COVID-19 will be competing with every other situation that demands intensive care. 
  • Caretaker President Juan Guaidó reported that the commission of health experts has been installed, its main functions are: gather and update data and facts about COVID-19; broadcasting the information to health institutions; advising in the development of information and prevention campaigns for the general public; offer its members expertise in sanitary contingency for organizations that might need it and advise in developing measures or programs to prevent and fight the pandemic.
  • Guaidó also reported that they’ve already established “contact with our international allies to analyze cooperation and proposals for Venezuela. We’re looking for support for our people.” 
  • The SNTP denounced that journalists Jesús Torres and Jesús Manuel Castillo, workers of Radio Cima, were taken to Cicpc Los Teques HQ for publishing a video about two potential coronavirus cases in a hospital of Miranda. 
  • Hundreds of passengers who planned a return to Venezuela were left stranded in airports of Spain after the INAC issued an order with retroactive effect, suspending flights to Venezuela before Nicolás issued the order. 
  • Nicolás’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino López said that on Sunday they’d be doing “lockdown exercises in cities, communities, capitals, borders, putting the Armed Forces in synchrony with the state of emergency that has been decreed in the country.” 
  • On Saturday, Italy had over 21,157 cases, a new record of 3,497 new cases and 175 new deaths, a total of 1,441 deaths. Italy’s infection rate is impressive: 350 per million. Spain reached 6,391 cases, 1,159 new cases and 195 deaths, 62 recent deaths. France has 4,499 cases (838 more than yesterday) and 91 deaths (12 more than yesterday). Despite all of this, they’ll hold municipal elections in the entire country but the Catholic church postponed all gatherings and events.
  • Latin America has more cases in Brazil (151), Chile (61) and Argentina (45). Peru reported  43 cases and Panama 43. Ecuador has 28, Costa Rica 27, Mexico 26 and Colombia 24. Dominican Republic follows with 11 cases, Bolivia with 10, Jamaica 8, Paraguay 7, Uruguay 6, Cuba 4, Uruguay 4, Honduras 3, Aruba 2, Trinidad and Tobago 2. Only one patient for now in Guyana, Guatemala and Surinam. Belize, Nicaragua and El Salvador haven’t confirmed any cases. 
  • On Saturday night, in all Spanish cities, citizens, from their balconies and windows, acclaimed and honored medical personnel working to contain coronavirus. Videos on social media are truly moving. Spain declared a state of alarm and Ecuador suspended foreigners’ entrance to the country, by sea, land or air.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.