Maduro says Russia will send aid to Venezuela to face coronavirus

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CARACAS, Mar 20 (Reuters) – President Nicolás Maduro said on Friday that Russia plans to make a donation to face the coronavirus pandemic in Venezuela on its fifth day of quarantine, in an attempt to curb the number of infected.

The oil-collapsing country with a weak health system registers a total of 42 cases of the virus, according to the latest official figure released on Thursday. The government did not report new infected on Friday.

“Russia has also announced a significant donation of special humanitarian aid that is due to arrive in the country next week. Russia is leading the way as well. Support with medical equipment, kits, etc, etc,” Maduro said in a phone call to a meeting chaired by the vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, to evaluate the issue in the country.

The president added that Cuba also plans to send 130 Cuban doctors to join the health system of the capital, Caracas.

The government announced on Thursday that China sent some 4,000 test kits to some 300,000 people, while on Saturday it will start nationwide “an intensive diagnostic process” among the population.

A quarantine began in Caracas on Monday, which later spread to the 23 states of the oil country, which included the restriction of traffic through some streets, pedestrian walks and parks, according to Reuters witnesses. The only work activities allowed are essential, such as health, food, public services, among others.

Government critics and doctors have warned that hospitals are not in a position to care for patients due to failures of services, equipment and medicines.

(Report by Deisy Buitrago)

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