The coronavirus hits Venezuela
It's only natural for us to concentrate on the coronavirus and the U.S. Nevertheless, other countries are counting their cases and hoping they can handle it.
One good example is Venezuela, a country that had hospital shortages before we ever heard of the virus.
This is from The Guardian:
Venezuela will implement a nationwide quarantine after detecting 16 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, President Nicolas Maduro said, adding that the total number of cases in the South American country has risen to 33.
"It is necessary, it is indispensable, it is the response," Maduro said in an address on state television. "The crude crisis, crisis, crisis is just starting."
The country on Monday had begun a quarantine in a handful of states, which Maduro said had been successful.
But many across the economic crisis-stricken nation went out anyway, saying they could not afford not to work as the once-prosperous OPEC nation suffers a crippling economic crisis.
Maduro added that the country would be receiving shipments of medicine from Cuba and protective gear and "thousands" of test kits from China. He said the government would be announcing benefits for citizens, without providing details.
The collapse of oil prices in the past week, due to a drop in demand related to coronavirus as well as a price war between top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, threatens to aggravate the six-year recession in Venezuela's oil-dependent economy.
Last night, I had a WhatsApp chat with a friend in central Venezuela. He is not a Maduro-supporter, but his comments need to be heard outside the country:
1. My friend believes that Maduro is understating the number of cases. Obviously, it does not help that there is no free press to challenge the government.
2. Venezuela has a horrible lack of physicians because so many have left.
And last but not least:
3. Hospital shelves have been empty for months.
We hope for the best everywhere, but socialism is not working in Venezuela, and Cuba's problems are already making the news.
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