GDP Will Contract More in Latin America Than in the Rest of the World

The shortage of gas makes it difficult to move around, they’re trying to jumpstart El Palito refinery and Venezuelans who returned to the country do their quarantine in inhuman conditions.

Photo: AlbertoNews, retrieved.
  • Jorge Rodríguez reported that there are four new cases of coronavirus. All of them are in Aragua state and got it from intrafamiliar contagions. The total of cases is now 193 and the recovery rate is 57.5% (111 recovered patients). The minister reiterated that most patients are between 20 and 49 years old. About the number of tests, he said that until Tuesday they had tested 225,009 people (21,901 more tests than yesterday and 6,377 per million inhabitants), with which Venezuela, in less than two weeks after the OCHA released their report, would be the country that has tested more people in Latin America. Yesterday, he finally thanked the Red Cross for 45 tons of supplies and medical equipment for tackling COVID-19.
  • The isolation, blocking and required shutdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus is having a serious effect on the GDP around the whole world, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. The Latin American and Caribbean economy will reduce by  5.2% this year, and the world economy by 3%.The IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath, said that “the high level of informality (of the Latin American economy) makes facing the crisis more difficult.” He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment, tourism and transport sectors in the Latin American economy. Despite the general drop this year, the multilateral institution foresees a partial recovery of Latin American economy in 2021, when they think it’ll grow by 3.4%.
  • Reuters reported that El Palito refinery started their oil distillation unit and other processing units, even though the catalytic cracker, key for fuel production, isn’t working yet. The refinery can process up to 146,000 barrels per day, but it’s still not ready. Chavismo is trying to present this as a victory, but it doesn’t explain why this plant stopped working. Protests for lack of gas around the country haven’t stopped either. Yesterday, videos of a large number of bikers in gas stations in Aragua and Carabobo state, without masks and breaking the social distancing rules for preventing contagion, went viral. 
  • According to Interior Minister Néstor Reverol, there have been 25,577 disinfecting sessions for stopping the spread of the virus, meaning 852 a day during this month we’ve been quarantined. He also said that the quarantine has been kept by 95% of the population.
  • Érika Farías, Caracas’ metropolitan mayor, explained the plan for “strengthening food security and epidemic protocols” and celebrated the idea of controlling citizens’ movement with a safe passage.
  • According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),  6,447 Venezuelans are in preventive quarantine in centers the regime provided. Most of them have said that the sanitary measures, attention and conditions are terrible and violate the rights of those who returned. 
  • Journalist Elyangelica González denounced the terrible conditions of the center for citizens who returned to the country in the most recent “humanitarian flight” through Maiquetía airport. They’re at an abandoned tourist center in Vargas state. When they arrived, they took their passports and phones. The place is in deplorable conditions, full of cockroaches and other animals. UCAB’s Human Rights Center presented on Tuesday a digital platform with information about Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The website offers updated data about the profile, needs and risks for the diaspora, as the laws, policies and migratory practices in 14 receiving countries, in Europe and America. “We want this site to be a service with all the information that’s diluted and sometimes hard to access,” said Ligia Bolívar, researcher and responsible for the project. The site offers updated data about the evolution of movement towards various destinations and identifies the main obstacles of migration policies, and the risks for Venezuelans in each territory they reach. 
  • U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak, denied rumors of a negotiation with Maduro. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, said his government doesn’t intend to lift sanctions on the regime and that Venezuela is one of the countries that’s worst prepared for facing COVID-19. 
  • Donald Trump announced that he’ll suspend U.S. financing for the WHO, because of their management of the coronavirus crisis. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that “it isn’t the right moment” for reducing WHO financing. 
  • PAHO requested on Tuesday to keep social distancing measures in America, saying that lifting quarantines and measures early can prolong the crisis. 
  • According to the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,998,000 cases have been confirmed and more than 126,500 people have died. The U.S. is the country with the most confirmed cases, (613,000), followed by Spain (174,060), Italy (162,488), France (131,361) and Germany (131,361). In Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil is the country with the most cases (25,262 ), followed by Peru (10,303), Chile (7,917) and Ecuador (7,603). Colombia is approaching 3,000 cases and 112 deaths. Johns Hopkins University projects worse figures, because of China’s lack of transparency and clarity in diagnostics. On Tuesday, Chinese authorities restricted leaving or entering the country, after thousands of citizens decided to come back from Russia and the number of cases increased. The PAHO announced they’ll deliver 3 million test kits in the continent in April. 
  • According to a tweet by journalist Mauricio Jaramillo, Venezuela is number 20 on the list of countries doing more COVID-19 tests. The regime hasn’t specified which kind of test they’re doing (fast response or PCR) and they report an impressive increase in a number that can’t be proved: nobody knows who’s getting tested and when. In addition, they have increased the reported figure in a rhythm surpassing 20,000 per day, but the National Hygiene Institute lacks the infrastructure or personnel to process this.  

The School of Medicine of the Central University of Venezuela, UCV, started Llamada SOS, a medical remote orientation service for people who suspect they have COVID-19, calling the local number 0212-3135660 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wash your hands, stay home.

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.