(CNN Español) –– In Venezuela, Luis Adrián Duque, mayor of the Sucre municipality in the state of Yaracuy, announced this Tuesday that he will mark the residences where alleged patients with covid-19 live. What has generated discomfort among the population and criticism on social networks.
“We are protecting our people. Here it indicates when we have a case of coronavirus or a suspected case. This is what it indicates, so that our people are alert, “Duque said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
In the video it is observed that at least one residence has a sign hanging on the door with a “forbidden” sign in red. Some users on social networks questioned the official’s measure, considering it stigmatizing patients with covid-19 in Venezuela, while others spoke of an abuse of privacy.
This is the video with Mayor Duque’s statements:
Such is the case of the NGO Acceso a la Justicia, which published in its Twitter account that patients have the right to respect “their dignity and privacy, without being discriminated against for reasons of geographic, racial, social, sexual, economic, ideological, political or religious. Does Mayor Adrián Duque know? ».
CNN has tried unsuccessfully to contact the Mayor’s Office to ask for more details about the measure and its reaction to the criticism.
CNN has also requested the reaction of the Ombudsman’s Office, but has not received a response either. The communication office of the Yaracuy governorate replied that they would transmit the query, without any additional news.
In radio statements, Duque said that those patients with coronavirus who fail to comply with isolation will be fined 20 million bolivars. He also warned that those who remove the sign from the doors of their homes will be penalized with 10 million. In Venezuela, the minimum wage is 1.8 million bolivars, which is roughly equivalent to one US dollar.
“If they reoffend, we are going to make the video and we are going to suspend the bag of food and gas,” said Duque. In addition, he responded to those who believe that the measure is unconstitutional and challenged them to seek assistance in that case in a court with administrative contentious jurisdiction. “If you do not comply with me, I will contempt authority,” he added.
Venezuela is experiencing a critical moment with a rebound in the number of cases and deaths associated with covid-19. The questioned President Nicolás Maduro announced that starting next Monday, a week without restrictions will begin under the 7 + 7 scheme, which includes alternating a week of easing followed by a week of “radical quarantine.”
Maduro instructed the hospitalization of all positive cases of covid-19, for which he announced the establishment of hotels as health centers. In other words, establishments for asymptomatic patients with mild symptoms to receive medical attention. Moderate to severe cases would receive care in the conventional public and private health system.
The government reported 169,074 cases of covid-19 and 1,693 deaths as of Monday. However, health workers and the opposition denounce that there is an underreporting of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
At the moment, 250,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and 500,000 of the Chinese Sinopharm have arrived in Venezuela. The government does not frequently disseminate data on how the vaccination process is going, while there were reports that politicians and people close to power agreed to the doses. Health Minister Carlos Alvarado reported in late March that some 98,000 health workers had been vaccinated.
Osmary Hernández contributed to this report.