Testing and isolation have been crucial for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Venezuela has one of the weakest testing infrastructures in Latin America and the low number of reported cases in the country has been attributed to substantial underreporting. However, the Venezuelan epidemic seems to have lagged behind other countries in the region, with most cases occurring within the capital region and four border states. Here, we describe the spatial epidemiology of COVID-19 in Venezuela and its relation to the population mobility, migration patterns, non-pharmaceutical interventions and fuel availability that impact population movement. Using a metapopulation model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics, we explore how movement patterns could have driven the observed distribution of cases. Low within-country connectivity most likely delayed the onset of the epidemic in most states, except for those bordering Colombia and Brazil, where high immigration seeded outbreaks. NPIs slowed early epidemic growth and subsequent fuel shortages appeared to be responsible for limiting the spread of COVID-19 across the country.


Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).

Cite as

Lampo, M., Hernández-Villena, J., Cascante, J., Vincenti-González, M., Forero-Peña, D., Segovia, M., Hampson, K., Castro, J. & Grillet, M. 2021, 'Signatures of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis in the first wave of COVID-19: fuel shortages and border migration', Vaccines, 9(719). https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9070719

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Last updated: 19 May 2023
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