1. Home
  2. Americas

In the news: Colombia border closure raises Venezuela coronavirus fears

The decision cuts off a vital supply and healthcare lifeline for Venezuelans at a worrying time.

Image of Venezuelan migrants crossing the Simón Bolívar International Bridge
Venezuelan migrants cross the Simón Bolívar International Bridge. Until its closure on Saturday, along with all other official Colombia-Venezuela border routes, the bridge was the busiest artery between the two countries. (Bram Ebus/TNH)

Chaotic scenes were reported at Colombia’s border with Venezuela over the weekend after Colombian President Iván Duque announced its closure, prompting fears over the health of many Venezuelans, given their country’s shattered healthcare system.

For years, thousands of Venezuelans have crossed daily into Colombia, either to flee the country – 4.8 million have since 2015 – or for healthcare needs that have been increasingly hard to meet in Venezuela, where hyperinflation has decimated the oil-rich economy.

Following Duque’s announcement on Friday, Venezuelans needing help were reportedly stuck in Venezuela, while others who had crossed for supplies or assistance became trapped in Colombia and couldn’t return.

As of Sunday evening, Colombia had reported 54 cases of coronavirus and Venezuela 17. Neither country had yet reported a fatality.

Read TNH’s coverage for more on the situation of the elderly in Venezuela, and the country’s healthcare crisis.

– Andrew Gully

Share this article

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join