Covid Cases Continue to Grow in Cuba, Especially in Matanzas and Pinar del Rio

There have been no deaths in Cuba from coronavirus since December 31, but there are 21 serious and four critical in Cuban hospitals. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 January 2022 — Covid19 cases continue their rise in Cuba, which this Tuesday adds 673 positives, 117 more than the previous day. There have been no deaths since December 31, but there are 21 seriously ill and four critical in Cuban hospitals.

By provinces, Matanzas with 105 and Pinar del Río with 107 are the most affected, followed by Havana, which despite its 70 infections has a lower incidence due to its high population, and Las Tunas, with 59. In the intermediate group are Holguín (53), Cienfuegos and Artemisa (45 each), Sancti Spíritus (39), Camagüey (31), Villa Clara (28) and Mayabeque (24). At the tail, with fewer cases, are Granma, with 15; the Isla de la Juventud Special Municipality, with 8 and Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, with 3 each.

The increase will foreseeably continue as a consequence of the increase in mobility and gatherings for the Christmas holidays, as well as the cases of the contagious omicron variant, which is already present in 12 of the country’s provinces.

Santiago de Cuba, despite being one of the provinces that reports the fewest cases, joins Sancti Spíritus on Tuesday, which already announced new restrictive measures last Friday. The eastern province also prohibits activities that can gather crowds and suspends activity in nightclubs as well as bars and restaurants without ventilation. In addition, single-use materials (tablecloths and napkins) should be used in these premises whenever possible.

On Monday, Raúl Leyva Caballero, director of Prosalud in the capital, made the announcement that the Santiagueras Nights are no longer being celebrated and that the food products that are sold in this traditional activity on Saturdays will be offered in the shops and gastronomic places of the city .

All facilities must have, as usual, hypochlorite and shoe cleaners, hygienic measures that, although they can be a support to the fight against coronavirus, have proven ineffective since, more than a year and a half ago, it was definitely concluded that covid-19 is spread mainly through the air.

Leyva Caballero asked that the sale of staple products be organized again in the ration stores, markets and workplaces, in addition to demanding that the acceleration of booster shots.

As for travelers, they are required to prove the complete vaccination schedule and a negative PCR in the 72 hours prior to the trip. In the case of Cubans who reside on the island and are not vaccinated, or have not completed the scheme, they must take a test upon arrival and pass mandatory quarantine in a hotel, with the cost of accommodation and transportation at their own expense. After seven days a new test will be carried out which, if negative, will allow them to leave on the eighth day.

The rebound in coronavirus cases has been shaking the world in recent months. This Tuesday there have been some record numbers in the American continent, with the US at the forefront, reporting a million cases in a single day.

Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Panama also stand out for their high contagion data, as the omicron variant spreads, which to date seems to results in less serious patients and shorter illnesses, but whose rate of spread is so worrying that, at the same time, it increases the chances of serious cases and strains the health systems again, and is causing a high number of employees to leave work, with consequences in many countries that could reach Cuba, if the trend is confirmed.

Some countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain have reduced the quarantine measures, as well as when verifying that the new variants have shorter infection times and, therefore,  two week or ten day isolations is not necessary, as was previously maintained.

In addition, this Tuesday a new variant of covid-19 from Cameroon was identified in France, now known as IHU by the acronym of the University Hospital Institute of Marseille that has formally discovered it, derived from another whose first cases were detected in the Republic of Congo in September.

This new variant has left a dozen cases in the city of Marseille and contains 46 mutations, even more than omicron, although there are not enough infections yet to draw conclusions about it.


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