Venezuela lifts coronavirus cases to 42, thanks China for aid

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela confirmed six new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, for a total of 42 cases, while President Nicolas Maduro’s government thanked its ally China for sending 4,000 diagnosis kits to test for the infection.

Maduro’s administration has implemented a nationwide quarantine and restricted travel between states in an attempt to contain the outbreak, which has raised alarm due to the collapse of Venezuela’s health system during a six-year economic crisis.

The government on Thursday said the Chinese diagnosis kits would serve to test 300,000 Venezuelans.

“From Venezuela’s soul, we want to thank the People’s Republic of China and President Xi Jinping for this generosity,” Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said during a televised event at Caracas’s international airport to receive the aid.

In a separate measure to contain the spread of the virus, Venezuela’s INEA maritime authority has prohibited crews aboard ships docking in the country’s ports from disembarking, according to a March 17 document seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The order also prohibited new personnel from boarding the tankers.

The move was not expected to affect oil exports from the OPEC nation but could complicate logistics, such as delivering food to crews, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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