Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has requested US$5 billion from the International Monetary Fund to enhance the nation’s means to detect and reply to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maduro ordered a nationwide quarantine beginning Tuesday after the variety of individuals contaminated with the virus almost doubled to 33 on Monday. While the nation has suspended faculties, ordered commuters to put on face masks and restricted nearly all air visitors, there’s a lot uncertainty about how Venezuela would address the unfold of the virus.

“This is a crucial moment, and knowing the aggressive and highly contagious levels of this disease, we will take quick and forcible measures to stop its propagation,” Maduro stated in a letter to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva signed on March 15, shared by the nation’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza immediately.

The IMF stated it’s prepared to mobilise its US$1 trillion lending capability to assist nations counter the coronavirus outbreak, with Georgieva calling for world coordination on financial, fiscal and regulatory help. 

Georgieva reiterated in a weblog put up Monday that the fund has US$50 billion in versatile and rapid-disbursing emergency funds for creating nations, with as a lot as US$10 billion accessible at zero rates of interest.

Venezuela’s relationship with the IMF has lengthy been contentious. In 2007, late President Hugo Chavez pledged to lower ties with the fund, contemplating it a physique that serves the pursuits of the US.

“The day the courts of the Republic order Juan Guaido’s detention for the crimes he has committed, he will go to jail, rest assured,” Maduro stated.

Last yr, the IMF suspended Maduro’s entry to nearly US$400 million of particular drawing rights, citing political chaos since opposition chief Juan Guaidó was backed by nearly 60 nations because the rightful chief.

Venezuela’s well being system, depleted by seven-year recession, is ranked among the many worst on this planet in its capability to detect, rapidly reply and mitigate a pandemic. The nation’s hospitals undergo from huge shortages of something from antibiotics and protecting gear to cleaning soap and water.

by Patricia Laya & Alex Vasquez, Bloomberg


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