Venezuelan authorities announced on Monday, August 3, that strict quarantine measures will be implemented following a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country. Authorities are continuing to use the '7+7' plan, in which strict measures are imposed for a week followed by a week of easing the restrictions in some areas of the country. The easing of restrictions will be implemented via a three-level system.
Under the strictest level of COVID-19 measures, currently in place until Sunday, August 9, only essential businesses are permitted to operate and residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes including food shopping, traveling to and from work, medical issues, and caring for a person in need.
During the second week of eased restrictions, August 10 - 16, several states will be permitted to enter the intermediate level which will allow businesses in construction and manufacturing, transport, banks, hardware stores, and non-emergency health services to reopen.
During the final stage of loosening restrictions, most non-essential businesses will be permitted to reopen including retails stores, gyms, drive-in cinemas, and sporting events without spectators.
Face coverings remain mandatory on public transport, inside grocery stores and pharmacies, at airports and ports, and in healthcare facilities. International and domestic flight operations remain suspended until at least August 12.
As of Monday, August 3, there have been 20,206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 174 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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