The virus has a peculiarity. It is not a crisis that can be made up and hidden. Governments that have not understood that, painfully for their people, have later seen that despite made up figures, in a matter of days they are tackled by an undeniable wave of sick and dead people.
By Franco Vielma – April 2, 2020
The most obvious examples in the continent are the cases of Ecuador, (where there are corpses that people have to incinerate on the streets), and the USA, (where in New York there is a huge logistics deployed to pile the dead in refrigerated trucks and morgues and crematoria are getting crowded.)
These situations are not seen in Venezuela, at least until today April 1st. In fact, if there were a concealment, our situation right now would be identical to that of those countries, given that the pandemic arrived here almost at the same time as in the other countries of the region. Like it or not, the government has been very well advised on the matter and has managed the situation properly, even above what is expected by many.
There is no room for cheap politicking here, and we must all admit that.
Facts that have made a difference in Venezuela:
- The country has detection equipment that China has donated. So much so that Maduro donated to Colombia, and they accepted, two machines to mass produce test kits.
- Venezuela is applying mass screening. We have the highest number of screening in South America per inhabitant. The strategy is the same as South Korea and Germany use.
- The Patria system, (who would have thought), turned out to be very useful for sifting possible cases. 16 million people have completed the Coronavirus online survey and it is a digital tool with real-time information that the government is using to find cases. That is to say, no other South American government has a tool like the Patria site.
- We all know that the massive and total quarantine has been highly observed. Mobility was reduced by 85% of the population on weekdays and there is only a moderate flow of people for food, especially on Saturdays. We have witnessed the deserted streets and everyone in their houses. This has not been the case in several countries.
- Quarantine was applied here according to the Chinese experience. It was suddenly, totally, not half and little by little, as they did in Italy, Spain and some states of the USA.
- Venezuela was the first Latin American country to impose flight restrictions and land borders.
- We were the first Latin American country to decree the total national quarantine.
- The use of the armed forces and the police continues to keep the flow of people within the quarantine.
- Before this health crisis, the country was affected by reduced connectivity, tourist flow, and flights. There has been no contagion like other countries in the region also for that reason. The economic blockade is the reason for that.
- Covid-19 is showing that the countries that can beat it are not exactly the richest countries, let’s look at the US and Europe. The virus is bested by countries where the population is more organized, where there is more awareness of the problem and where there is more compliance with government measures. China overcame the pandemic for that reason. We are also doing it.
Given this, it should not surprise anyone that the number of infections detected is low, compared to other countries. No one should be surprised.
Finally, although I have exposed clear elements – things that are clear to all of us – that explain why the situation is controlled, what we must appreciate (and what is more important), is that there are no clear indications that the situation is out of control. They do not exist.
There are, of course, some false content and gossip on social networks, which have managed to spread fear in a segment of the population, with images of Ecuador or even images of Venezuela from previous moments, in hospitals and related. But we should already be used to those trolls, who for political reasons, try to create alarm in the population. We already know why they do it.
If you see false content, break the chain, do not spread it, deny it, report it as false news on the networks, report the person who sent it to you. Let’s maintain the calm we’ve had these days and spread only correct and official information.
If you believe that this message can inform and help someone, share it on the social networks.
Featured image: Venezuelan and Cuban doctors go house by house to practices test to those ones identified by the communes or the Patria system.
Translated by JRE/EF
Franco Vielma is a Sociologist, writer. He is part of the Mision Verdad collective.
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