Infections Jump in Venezuela, Concern over Health System

HAVANA TIMES – Coronavirus infections have jumped in Venezuela, where 426 new cases were recorded within 24 hours, bringing the total to 10,854, according to official figures.

Diosdado Cabello and Nicolas Maduro. File photo:

The country had reported relatively low numbers until recently, though the real ones are widely believed to be higher due to insufficient testing and difficulties in accessing reliable information.

Venezuela late Thursday confirmed 104 deaths, four of them within the last 24 hours.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government has claimed to have handled the pandemic well and blamed new infections mainly on migrants returning from neighbouring Colombia.

But concern is growing over the capacity of the health system to handle large numbers of patients in the country where some health centres even lack for water, soap and face masks.

Those infected so far include Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami and Diosdado Cabello, chief of the ruling Socialist Party.

The government has started relaxing lockdowns in areas with relatively few infections, but placed the Caracas district under a strict quarantine again following an increase in Covid-19 cases there.

The electoral authority has raised the possibility of postponing a parliamentary poll scheduled for December 6, if the disease spreads rapidly.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido said the opposition did not recognize the elections, accusing the government of manipulating them to its advantage.