Venezuelan victims of the Chinese coronavirus are being forced to quarantine in dirty warehouses with lack of access to food and consistent water supply, Bloomberg detailed in a report Monday.
Having initially reported a low number of cases, Venezuela is now experiencing a surge in infection rates that are placing excessive pressure on its decrepit health system. As a result, the socialist regime has started imposing forced isolation tactics similar to those used in China.
The process has now begun to backfire. Many people are now actively avoiding tests or buying them off the black market so they are not forced into state-run isolation centers, where thousands of people are crammed into warehouses with little to no food, a dodgy water supply, and heightened risk of infection.
“This worked in China, which has a much more robust public health system,” Maria Graciela Lopez, head of Venezuela’s Society of Infectology, told the outlet. “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.”
Despite Lopez’s claim, it is not clear that China’s strategy of welding civilians shut in their homes resulted in limited infection rates. China claims only 89,738 coronavirus cases and less than 5,000 deaths. A report by the American Enterprise Institute found that China’s official statistics may be off by millions of cases.
Dictator Nicolás Maduro has long admitted his admiration for China, one of his regime’s closest allies, and employed similar tactics to those used by the Chinese Communist Party when the pandemic started.
“Venezuela has paid attention to every single step and learned big lessons from China,” Maduro said in April after a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. “It has inspired our decisions in how to face this pandemic.”
The regime has turned to strong-arm tactics to enforce rules around mask-wearing and social distancing, with soldiers punishing people with physical exercise, trash-collecting, or listening to lectures about why they should follow the rules. Unlike other countries, authorities have refrained from handing out fines, presumably because the economic and humanitarian crisis means very few people would be able to pay them.
Last month, Voice of America reported that Venezuelan authorities have confiscated privately-owned motels and turned them into prisons for the infected. Conditions in the facilities were described as “deplorable,” with detainees being deprived of basic hygiene and living essentials such as soap, toothpaste, or deodorant.
The buildings were also repeatedly subject to long power outages due to failure’s in the country’s National Grid, while detainees were constantly monitored by police and a councilor from the ruling Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to prevent their escape or anyone from visiting them.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Venezuela has officially recorded 40,338 cases of the coronavirus and 337 deaths. However, such figures must be viewed with skepticism due to the widespread lack of testing and the regime’s infamous record of dishonesty on matters of public health.