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14 Mar 2020 | 03:50 AM UTC

Venezuela: Government confirms first COVID-19 cases March 13

President Maduro confirms first COVID-19 cases in the country on March 13; take precautions



On Friday, March 13, President Nicolas Maduro confirmed the country's first two coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. The new cases, two tourists from Spain, have been placed under quarantine alongside those that entered the country on the same flight.

Maduro called on those over 65 years of age to remain indoors and for everyone to take precautions such as wearing masks, as no one will be permitted to take public transportation without one. Restaurants are not permitted to serve patrons on-site, though remain open for takeout service. Bars, clubs, and movie theaters are set to close. Schools will be closed as of Monday, March 16.

Previously, the government canceled flights to Europe and banned public gatherings.

Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks. 


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.