Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Venezuela to enforce strict quarantine measures nationwide July 20-26 due to COVID-19 activity. Other measures in place.

  • Alert Begins: 20 Jul 2020 12:31 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 27 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, increased security, severe transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Venezuela announced that all states will be required to enforce the strictest quarantine measures July 20-26, under the "7+7" formula, where seven days of quaratine is alternated with seven days of work. This schedule of measures follows the enforcement of a regional three-level system of measures to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which was in effect July 13-19. Officials have not indicated if the three-level system will resume July 27 as before. Nonetheless, all levels of restrictions as well as the categorization of states and towns is subject to amendment.

Effective July 20, only essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, law enforcement, public utilities, and agriculture, will continue operating nationwide. All residents must wear protective face masks while riding public transport, inside grocery stores and pharmacies, and at healthcare facilities, airports, and ports. Residents may only leave their homes to conduct essential or critical tasks, such as obtaining basic goods, attending to a medical issue, caring for a person in need, or traveling to or from employment at an essential business or government agency.

Other restrictions will be maintained despite some businesses reopening. Schools will remain closed, as will most nonessential businesses. The military is enforcing the restrictions. Local and regional governments could impose additional restrictions, including limiting intercity or interstate vehicular travel; enhanced measures are especially likely in border areas. The ban on all domestic and international passenger flights is in effect through at least Aug. 12. Cargo and humanitarian flights have been exempt from the ban. Repatriation flights for Venezuelan citizens from abroad have also been permitted. Additionally, all land border crossings remain closed, though there are no restrictions on cargo transportation. The restrictions may be extended or amended at any time.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Venezuela are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Venezuela's decision to enforce the flexible 7+7 quarantine was likely taken in early June to allow some economic recovery while still maintaining some restrictions; however, stricter measures are likely to be maintained in higher-risk areas. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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