Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Venezuela extend movement restrictions nationwide, ban on most passenger flights, through at least mid-May.

This alert affects Venezuela

This alert began 12 Apr 2020 08:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, increased security, severe transport and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in Venezuela have extended the nationwide quarantine for an additional 30 days, as of April 12. The measure first went into effect March 17 as part of the nation's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and is likely to remain in place through at least mid-May. Residents must 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. Schools are to remain closed, as are nonessential businesses. The military is enforcing the restrictions. Several local and regional governments have imposed additional restrictions, including limiting intercity or interstate vehicular travel. Moreover, all residents should wear a protective mask while riding public transport, inside grocery stores and pharmacies, at healthcare facilities, and at airports and ports.

Most international passenger flights to and from the country have been suspended, including regional flights; there have been no flights between the US and Venezuela since mid-2019. All domestic flights have also been suspended. All land border crossings remain closed. There are no restrictions on cargo transportation.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country; significant police and military presence is probable. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Venezuela correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Presidency of Venezuela: www.presidencia.gob.ve