President Nicolás Maduro announced that a nationwide complete quarantine will be imposed for seven days as of Monday, July 20, due to a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country. The decision is part of the government's strategy to impose seven days of "radical quarantine" followed by seven days of "ample and safe relaxation" in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Venezuelan authorities have extended the nationwide state of emergency until August 10. This is the fourth time the state of emergency has been extended, and it grants President Maduro powers to implement orders governing the state's response to the pandemic.
Local quarantines and bans on interstate movement remain in place. Educational institutions and non-essential shops are to remain closed, and public gatherings are prohibited. Face masks must be worn at all times when not at home, and only one member per household is permitted to leave the house for essential purposes.
As of Tuesday, July 21, there have been 12,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 116 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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