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Venezuela market at centre of Caracas COVID-19 outbreak

作者:admin 2020-08-06

Venezuela capital Caracas's largest produce market is at the centre of a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, but cash-strapped merchants refuse to stop hawking food there for the city's five million residents, many of whom are starving.

Three days a week - down from six before the pandemic - some 10,000 people, including retailers and consumers, pack into the state-run Coche Wholesale Market. The produce is trucked out to the city's supermarkets, providing a lifeline amid Venezuela's six-year economic crisis.

"Caracas depends on this market," its administrator Walter Rivera said in an interview, adding that about 17,000 tonnes of goods are sold there each month.

But the open-air bazaar, where people pay little heed to social distancing though most wear masks, upsets President Nicolas Maduro's government's efforts to stop an accelerating number of coronavirus cases from overloading Venezuela's dilapidated health system. So far authorities have confirmed 20,206 cases and 174 deaths, though the opposition and medical NGOs warn that testing is insufficient.

Venezuela

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