Photo: El Carabobeño, retrieved.
- In the last 24 hours, said Nicolás, four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, for a total of 197 in the country. The states are Portuguesa (2), Vargas (one of them is the eighth case in a company that provides security for Empresas Polar) and Táchira (1). There are 86 patients with active contagions and 111 have recovered. He assured that, until Wednesday, they had done 250,123 tests (25,114 more than Tuesday) and asked Delcy Rodríguez to find 10 million tests with help of the WHO, PAHO, China, Russia, Iran and Cuba. He also admitted this “will last a long time” and that when we go back to normal, it’ll be under surveillance. His vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, said that they decided to add anticoagulant medicine to the treatment protocol for coronavirus.
- The National Assembly approved the transfer of 342 million dollars from the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV), in a private account, to a federal account property of the BCV in the U.S.; the agreement backing the operation was presented by the Finance Commission and establishes that the operation will be made to strengthen international reserves and have access to assets according to Article 36 in the Transition Statutes. With this agreement, the AN authorized the ad hoc board of the BCV to apply for a license from the OFAC and transfer BCV funds, allowing for management according to the Transition Statutes (so they won’t be used without the National Assembly’s explicit approval). The AN also approved the Rules for the Special Law for Freeing Venezuela and Attention of High-Risk Cases, with which over 35 million dollars would be used to solve the social emergency during the pandemic.
- Conindustria demands political actors to put their ambitions aside and establish a National Emergency Government that develops plans for effective and efficient answers to the real causes of the economic crisis, worsened by the quarantine. They exhorted all workers to “work together and be fully aware of the state of deprivation and calamity that most of the population is going through,” says their statement.
- The U.S. is reconsidering the measure of allowing Chevron and other companies to operate in Venezuela, as the pressure of American sanctions increase. So far, these companies haven’t been sanctioned, but their last authorization for keeping active operations in Venezuela expires on April 22nd.
- Severe electricity rationing in southwestern Venezuela is caused by the drop in electricity generation, said engineer Winston Cabas, president of the Venezuelan Association of Electric and Mechanical Engineers (AVIEM). According to AVIEM, 11 thermoelectric plants and four hydraulic plants located in the most affected states are supplying barely 10% of the energy that the region needs.
- Gas shortages make Venezuelans’ lives even harder. Despite the quarantine, citizens have protested against lack of basic services and food. On Wednesday, simultaneous protests for CLAP boxes, lack of cooking gas and water service were registered in several states in the country. In Falcón, the protest was repressed by the National Guard. In Cojedes, producers rejected the possibility that crops would go to waste, a common complaint from farmers in the whole country.
- The Anti-extortion and Kidnapping division of the National Guard, CONAS, took journalist Eduardo Galindo Peña from his home, to question him about a piece published in his website Senderos de Apure, said the National Press Workers Union. CONAS also detained Galindo’s brother and wife.
- CNN journalist Osmary Hernández reported that the U.S. Department of Justice said that Nicolás would be arrested immediately if he traveled to American soil, to go to the UN, for example, “because they don’t recognize him as a government official, they wouldn’t recognize his immunity.” Nicolás could face 50 years to a life sentence.
- Human Rights Watch expressed its support for a Temporary Protection Status for Venezuelan migrants in the U.S., due to the risks they’d be facing if they’re forced to return to their country. They say that now isn’t the time to deport Venezuelans, and that they need temporary protection, said Bill Frelick.
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet exhorted countries in Latin America to “open their borders for their own citizens stranded abroad.”
- Johns Hopkins University reported that the pandemic has affected over 2,060,927 people and caused 134,354 deaths in the world. These figures were announced 12 days after the WHO confirmed that the one million case mark had been surpassed. For now, 90% of cases are still in Europe and the U.S., there are over 725,000 cases in America and most countries have few test kits available.
- The G20 approved a proposal by the G7 to suspend payments of foreign debt for over 70 poor countries, for a year. The measures that must be taken to fight the pandemic will pose a serious effect on all countries’ economic structures, with special repercussions in their debt and fiscal deficit, said the IMF yesterday.
- The European Commission has started issuing recommendations for the EU to design strategies for a slow lifting of the quarantine. Denmark reopened daycares and schools up to 5th grade today.
- Italy is developing a potential vaccine against coronavirus that they’d be testing in humans by the end of April. If successful, it’ll be available “for international distribution in 2021.”
- Susana Raffalli said that during the ebola epidemic, the disease spread increased when people started hiding symptoms because of guilt: “The solidary perspective, almost intimate when it comes to the contagion rate, is key. It’s essential to involve our affective social fabric with civility, with whomever holds more trust,” she wrote. The regime, meanwhile, insulted Venezuelans who came back and mocked the conditions that forced them to do so.
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