Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday informed on the detection of 10 patients infected with the Brazilian COVID-19 strain in the states of La Guaira, Miranda, and Bolivar.
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The people diagnosed with the new strain were hospitalized. Relatives and friends who had contact with them in the past 15 days were also isolated.
"We will take special measures due to the grave disease caused by this strain," Maduro said and informed that his government already alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) about the discovery.
To contain the spread of the strain, Maduro urged the Health Ministry to vaccinate in the coming hours the residents of the communities where the cases were found.
The spread of the new strain in Brazil caused the States of Amazonas' and Roraima's hospital networks to collapse in January.
"We do not want to alarm, but to inform and ask the people to take extreme hygiene and social distancing measures," the Bolivarian leader said, adding that medical brigades will continue to visit communities nationwide to detect new contagions.
On Wednesday, Venezuela reported 449 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of contagions to 140,383.