A Covid Patient in Santiago de Cuba is Beaten Over a Bar of Soap

The capital of Santiago capital returned to the local-transmission phase this Tuesday due to the rise in covid figures. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Francisco Herodes Díaz Echemendía, Havana, 13 January 2021 — A young man sick with Covid received a beating this Wednesday in the isolation center where he is located, in Santiago de Cuba, just because his family tried to pass him a bar of soap.

According to family sources speaking to 14ymedio, the patient, Daniel Argüelles Estévez, did not have soap for his personal hygiene and his father, Daniel Argüelles Figueredo, tried to send him one, but the guards of the site did not allow it.

“My dad called my brother to tell him that he couldn’t get him the soap,” says Daniela, the sick man’s sister.

As the boy came out of his cubicle to take the soap, three agents, two in civilian clothes and a uniformed man, according to Daniela’s account, began to shout that the patient had escaped and they cornered him. “One of them hit him a lot, hit him on the chest, on the back, gave him a slap and then they all fell on top of him,” she details.

The father of the patient was arrested shortly after the incident and taken to the police station located in Micro 9, in the provincial capital. “My father was taken to jail because they accused him of spreading epidemics and disrespecting authority,” says Daniela. “They already released him but they gave him a 30 peso fine for disturbing public order.”

Meanwhile, her brother Daniel is still without soap. “They don’t let anything pass,” Daniela complains, “only sanitary pads for women.”

The facilities of the old school of Social Workers, which today belongs to the University of Medical Sciences, have been an isolation center since the beginning of the pandemic. The quarantine of travelers arriving in the province of Santiago de Cuba from other countries begins there, as does that for the doctors returning from Venezuela.

Faced with the uncontrollable situation due to the new infections, and with the other crowded isolation centers, the Government set up the facility to care for the sick and those suspected of having Covid. The health authorities informed the local press that they adapted the “school” to create a “hospital.”

Santiago de Cuba woke up this Wednesday to 153 new infections, a record that raises health alarms, which have been active for two months. Indigenous cases began to proliferate when commercial flights arrived at the Antonio Maceo Airport. Of the cases of this day, about 138 constitute local-transmission infections.

In the province, which is in phase one of recovery, there are a total of 489 active cases and the municipalities with the highest infestation rate are Santiago de Cuba, Mella, Contramaestre, Palma Soriano, San Luis, Songo-La Maya and Segundo Front. There are 279 open outbreaks, of which 103 were caused by contact with foreigners.

Meanwhile, the Santiago capital returned to the local-transmission phase this Tuesday and is where most of the sick are concentrated. The outlook there is increasingly gray, with several quarantined areas, suspension of various services, a prolonged food shortage and a curfew that forces residents to be home between 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.


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