[UPDATED] Venezuela: Oil Minister, PSUV Vice President Test Positive for COVID-19

The senior Chavista figures made the announcement on Twitter.

Mérida, July 10, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami has contracted coronavirus.

El Aissami tweeted on Friday that he was following all medical protocols after receiving the test results.

The oil minister’s announcement came on the heels of National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello likewise testing positive for COVID-19.

“Dear comrades. It is my duty to inform you that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” he wrote on Twitter Thursday. “I am in isolation and following the prescribed treatment. Thank you for your well wishes, I’m in high spirits.”

Cabello, who also serves as vice president of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), runs a popular weekly show on public television and is recognized as one of the most influential Chavista figures.

Cabello’s announcement was met with messages of support from high-ranking figures, including President Nicolas Maduro. A campaign with the hashtag #VenezuelaConDiosdado (“Venezuela is with Diosdado”) soon became the top trend on Twitter.

In addition, Zulia Governor Omar Prieto was also tested positive for COVID-19. The western border state has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, with hundreds of cases of community transmission emanating from a popular market in the state capital of Maracaibo.

Despite presenting much lower totals than neighboring countries, cases have rapidly grown in Venezuela in recent weeks. On Thursday, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez announced 362 more coronavirus infections and five deaths, bringing the totals to 8,372 and 80, respectively.

Rodriguez added that 279 of the new cases were community transmissions, and that most new patients had been identified in door-to-door visits by medical teams. Out of the total, 2,544 patients have recovered, 5,218 are asymptomatic and 24 are in intensive care.