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NYT: Venezuela Cracking Down On COVID-19 Patients

Venezuela is reportedly forcing people who may be infected into detention and branding them as "bio-terrorists" who are "infecting the country."
Posted at 1:55 PM, Aug 19, 2020

Venezuela is initiating a security crackdown on thousands of coronavirus patients, declaring them "bio-terrorists." These people are most often Venezuelans returning to the country after losing jobs abroad.

Venezuelans say the patients are treated like criminals. The New York Times reports that residents are urged to report anyone who's come in contact with the virus.

The government is reportedly using plaques to mark homes with suspected infections. And videos show the military is holding Venezuelans in crowded rooms for weeks or months to test and treat them with unproven medication.

One nurse who was shuttled to several detention centers said: "They told us we’re contaminated, that we’re guilty of infecting the country. ... You couldn’t ask anyone for help, because the only thing you got was abuse."

All of this is in contrast to how Venezuela is treating its elite, who are spending lockdown under more lavish conditions. Venezuela officially has one of the lowest infection rates in the region, and the government says it performs the highest number of COVID-19 tests per capita.

However, Venezuelan health experts argue the opposite is true, actually. Eight doctors interviewed by the Times said most patients with symptoms aren't included in the official figures because they never get tested, or die before receiving their results.

For Newsy, I'm Adam Elrashidi.