“Sometimes I’m sleeping at night and I think I’m in a motel.” “I still feel hurt.”
She, like more than two dozen health professionals or support workers who spoke with us to inform the report, told CNN not to reveal her identity to the Venezuelan government out of fear of retaliation.
Her ordeal began after her father died in Maracaibo, a once-wealthy city in northeastern Venezuela. Doctors suspected that he was a victim of Kovid-19, although test results were inconclusive. Still in mourning, his entire family was required to take a sharp test. Hers also returned inconclusive.
Since that time, his life was completely controlled by the Venezuelan government, she says – from where he slept. “I was immediately separated from that moment. I didn’t hear anything from my family, I had no contact with them, I couldn’t reach them anywhere,” she says. “I was disappointed, I thought I was going to die.”
He was then told that he would be transferred to a motel.
Unitary, crowded and prison-like
Doctors said that the government of Venezuela is using motels and other meshift facilities to help motivational patients suspect novel coronaviruses. But these facilities have earned a reputation for being invincible, crowded and prison-like, with many Venezuelans fearing being locked up inside them.
“I can’t do anything. It bothered me, it bothered me,” she says, begging officers to recall her quarantine at home. “I told them that other countries separate people inside their homes.”
She argued that she did not need medical monitoring – she felt fine, and had no symptoms. But the officers were nonchalant. The mother of three was sent by a local councilor to a motel run with the help of three to four Cuban doctors, she says, estimating that a total of 100 suspected Kovid-19 patients were there.
Conditions at the motel were slightly better than at the Diagnostics Center, but still uncomfortable, the woman said: She was given her own room, with her own bathroom, but that was about it. Like the rest of Markeibo, the electricity was intermittent, which meant that there was little use for air-conditioning or TV in his room, and the toilet only functioned intermittently. He was given twice a day and a very limited amount of drinking water; And personal hygiene items were in short supply.
“I spent five days without toothpaste,” she recalls.
But she says the worst was when she asked staff at the motel for feminine hygiene products. “They told me they were going to provide me with personal hygiene supplies … they gave them to me 15 days later,” she says. “My sister went to the motel’s entrance several times to bring me personal hygiene supplies and they told her that I didn’t want anything because they would provide me everything.”
“first two [tests], I didn’t see the results, but the last two I knew were negative, “she says. I felt that I should be there longer than I was supposed to be.”
Their story is far from unique, according to many doctors and nurses – most notably in Maracaibo, where mandatory quarantine is one of the few available tactics to include coronovirus.
The Venezuelan government did not respond to numerous requests for comment about the situation at hospitals and quarantine motels, or about its testing for Kovid-19.
‘One dies, another comes’
Maracaibo used to be a success story in Latin America, with a spectacular central university hospital, a powerhouse built on the economic boon brought by Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. But after years of mismanagement and lack of investment in the hospital, doctors say the hospital now has only nine available ICU beds, six hours of running water per day, intermittent power, and an X-ray machine that doesn’t work in months is.
This lack of equipment and infrastructure to deal with novel coronoviruses is a nationwide plight in a poor country, even in the affluent capital of Caracas in hospitals that suffer from drug shortages and even disinfectants. Today, a physician in Venezuela told CNN that nearly half of the hospitals designated to treat Kovid-19 patients do not have sufficient personal protective equipment, water or electricity.
The surgical nurse said, “The world was not ready to deal with coronovirus, but the kind of human and economic crisis we have in Venezuela is very bad.” He said only patients could be taken to epidemic-ridden Venezuelan hospitals when they got up from bed, acting like revolving doors. “One dies, another person comes in.”
Official data on the number of people placed under state-managed quarantine are not publicly available, but doctors, NGO activists and other experts told CNN that out of more than 45,000 people officially recovered from Kovid-19 At least half of the people listed have been spending time in the mandatory quarantine facility.
Many NGOs and doctors told CNN that they believe many infections go uninfected, and in some cases patients die without even knowing they had Kovid-19. “A doctor reported,” reported at least twice as many in official lists of people who died with severe respiratory symptoms as those who were most likely Kovid-19 And which are not within the definition of the ministry, “a doctor told CNN.
The risk of quarantine may further increase Venezuela’s coronovirus figures, as some citizens will suffer quietly and hide in their homes, likely because of exposure to the virus and staying in a motel for weeks.
The surgical nurse said, “Many people called me what they should do to avoid going to the hospital because they are afraid, afraid of being put in a motel.”
For them, the fear is not just of catching Kovid-19, but what the government will do for you if it is found out.