Maduro requests WHO aid amid coronavirus outbreak

The Venezuelan government decided to request the World Health Organization (WHO)’s aid in tackling the novel coronavirus outbreak, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said during a televised speech in Caracas.

"[Venezuelan] President Nicolas Maduro had a fruitful phone conversation with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. President Maduro requested international assistance, including tests for detecting COVID-19," she said.

According to the vice president, no new cases of the novel coronavirus infection were detected in the country in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido made appealed to the country’s armed forces, urging them to let international humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

"Our clear and direct call to the national armed forces is as follows: there is no time left, we need to open seaports and airports. <...> Let the humanitarian assistance in," Guaido said in a written statement, issued by his press service.

The opposition leader claimed that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "is unable to cope with this emergency."

The Venezuelan government reported the first two cases of novel coronavirus in the country on March 13. By now, the country has 36 confirmed cases. On March 17, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the decision to introduce a quarantine on the entire territory of the republic.

The coronavirus outbreak, which began in late 2019 in China, has spread to over 130 countries and the WHO recognized it as a global pandemic. According to latest reports, more than 200,000 people contracted the disease worldwide, and 8,900 of them died. Russia has registered 147 infection cases so far.

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