President Nicolás Maduro said that Venezuela suffers “an invasion” of coronaviruses from Colombia, a country that its government has accused of being responsible for about a third of the more than 9,000 infections they have.

“We have the attack of the Colombian virus that Iván Duque sends with the trochers,” said Maduro, referring to the members of mafias that organize the return of Venezuelans through illegal steps between the two countries.

“This is only in Venezuela, no country in the world is subject to an invasion of the virus from another country,” added the president during a virtual working meeting with governors and mayors.

Maduro has said that in recent weeks about 60,000 Venezuelans have returned to the country through illegal steps, and without submitting to the quarantine and controls imposed by his government since mid-March last, when the first contagions were detected.

The Venezuelan president assured that these returnees “contaminate their family and neighbors” upon returning from Colombia infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

“There is no country in the world that has the problem of the trocheros, if it were not for the trocheros, Venezuela was totally controlled and without any outbreak (of covid-19) to this day, and we were enjoying the total flexibilization of work and social life, “he continued.

According to the last official report, 9,178 people have been infected with the new coronavirus in Venezuela, of which 85 have died. Of these cases, a third or more than 3,000 come from Colombia.

“We are fighting the Colombian virus,” insisted Maduro. Weeks ago, he denounced that his Colombian counterpart organized the return of Venezuelans whom he had somehow contacted the coronavirus, as a way to shoot up the rate of infections and create a health emergency in Venezuela.

Given this suspicion, the Venezuelan government established strong sanitary controls with the support of the Armed Forces at border crossings with Colombia and Brazil, and established a mandatory quarantine protocol for all returnees.

Without offering further details, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that at least 160 soldiers who have carried out these control tasks have been infected with Covid-19.