Caracas — Venezuela recorded 193 new Covid-19 cases on the first day of the year, according to Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, while President Nicolás Maduro said the same day the country would continue with its peculiar ‘7+7′ quarantine measures, under which citizens work for seven days and then self-isolate for seven.
The government statements were later contradicted however, causing confusion regarding the official policy for preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Maduro told Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet in an interview that the preventive measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus should be voluntary. “They cannot be imposed with repression or curfews, they have to be based on creating awareness among citizens,” Maduro said, following a period of flexibility in November and December for all sectors.
“We will not give up the preventive measures, we will not give up the 7+7 and in 2022 I hope we can achieve the vaccination of 95%, we have a tranquil country,” Maduro was quoted as saying, adding that the virus will continue to affect humanity and people must be attentive to the correct method of prevention.
However, hours later, Maduro’s spokesperson Alfred Nazareth contradicted the information provided by Delcy Rodríguez regarding the implementation of the 7+7 measures.
“The news that Venezuela will resume the 7+7 system is false,” Nazareth tweeted.
The Venezuelan people have achieved the goal of vaccinating 90% of the population and is heading toward a vaccine booster program in January. Let’s not spread rumors. We know how to do it. Let’s take care of ourselves,” Nazareth said, contradicting the government’s earlier statements regarding its plans.
During the last week of December the government announced the discovery of the Omicron variant in the country, with nine cases in Caracas, Miranda and Lara. The patients were asymptomatic and had all come into the country from abroad, according to the government.
Health Minster Carlos Alvarado announced a tenth case on Monday.
Before the close of 2021 the presidential commission for Covid-19 prevention met to reinforce biosecurity measures, but little has been said about the new measures to be implemented. Since the start of the pandemic, Venezuela has recorded 444,972 cases, of which 4,742 are still active, while the death toll since March 2020 is 5,333, according to official data.
Maduro also mentioned that booster jabs would be administered in January, using the Sputnik Light, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Abdala vaccines, the latter developed in Cuba but which has not yet been approved by the World Health Organization.