Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Venezuela extends nationwide quarantine and ban on most passenger flights through at least June 12.

This alert affects Venezuela

This alert began 13 May 2020 20:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • 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 have extended the country's existing nationwide quarantine, as well as its suspension of domestic and international passenger flights, until at least June 12 as part of the government's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The quarantine has been in place since March 17 and requires residents to stay at home except to conduct essential or urgent 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. Cargo and humanitarian flights are exempt from the associated flight ban. Authorities may also allow special flights to repatriate Venezuelan citizens from abroad. Additionally, all land border crossings remain closed, although there are no restrictions on cargo transportation.

With the extension of the directives, schools will remain closed, as will nonessential businesses. The military is enforcing the restrictions. Moreover, several local and regional governments have imposed additional restrictions, including limiting intercity or interstate vehicular travel. All residents must wear protective face masks while riding public transport, inside grocery stores and pharmacies, at healthcare facilities, and at airports and ports. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, law enforcement, public utilities, and agriculture, are allowed to continue operating.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. The restrictions may be extended or otherwise amended at any time.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Venezuela are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo. Avoid all demonstrations.

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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