News and Commentary

Venezuelans Who Test Positive For COVID-19 Forced Into Dirty Warehouses With Armed Guards
A person wearing a protective mask waits behind a security gate outside of the Ana Francisca Perez de Leon Hospital in the Petare neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Venezuela has decided to follow China’s approach to coronavirus quarantines by locking those who test positive for the virus in filthy warehouses against their will.

Bloomberg reported Monday that doctors and patients in the nation are so terrified of the awful quarantine centers that they are avoiding coronavirus tests.

“But with a hollowed-out health system, far too few tests and a dysfunctional public sector, patients are terrified. They say they’re crammed for weeks into filthy warehouses with little to eat, spotty water supply and increased risk of infection. This, along with the detention of dissident doctors and public shaming of violators, has led to a sense of impending disaster,” the outlet reported.

Bloomberg detailed the story of a taxi driver named Juan, who tested positive last month but was sent home by his doctor to avoid the quarantine facility. Government agents, however, found him and took him to one of the centers, located in a slum.

“I spent three days sleeping on an aluminum chair,” Juan told the outlet. “They fed us cold rice, lentils and arepas. The place was controlled by armed militias and Cuban doctors.”

After days in the quarantine center, he was moved to a stadium elsewhere in the city and have been there for two weeks.

Another patient, Luis, told Bloomberg that he was forced to quarantine for weeks in a classroom along with 30 others.

“We sleep on old, very worn mats, it’s almost like sleeping on the floor,” Luis told the outlet.

He also mentioned that the arepas are so small the people in quarantine call them “buttons.”

“Today I gave mine to a child,” Luis said. “They are always hungry.”

The socialist country has been following communist China’s lead in how to handle the coronavirus pandemic after cases spiked this summer.

Maria Graciela Lopez, the head of Venezuela’s Society of Infectology, told Bloomberg that the current approach worked in China.

“This worked in China, which has a much more robust public health system,” Graciela Lopez said. “Venezuela was already very short on medical staff. People are afraid. Now patients arrive immediately needing intensive care because they lived with the disease at home until they just couldn’t any longer.”

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro endorsed treating those infected with the coronavirus the same way China treated its infected.

“Venezuela has paid attention to every single step and learned big lessons from China,” Maduro said in April. “It has inspired our decisions in how to face this pandemic.”

Chinese doctors even visited the country to provide guidance. As Bloomberg reported, some of the quick tests provided by the country provide false positives, resulting in healthy people being torn from their homes and locked away with actual sick people.

Kathleen Page, professor at the Johns Hopkins University Division of Infectious Diseases, told Bloomberg that Venezuela was likely violating human rights by following China’s lead.

“The conditions at these centers suggest there’s violations of basic human rights and protections,” she said. “This feels punitive and will certainly be a disincentive to testing. More transmission will occur in the community as people who don’t get diagnosed with Covid are not likely to self-isolate.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Venezuelans Who Test Positive For COVID-19 Forced Into Dirty Warehouses With Armed Guards