Cuban Authorities Report "Potentially Dangerous" Covid-19 Outbreak at La Epoca Store

La Época, one of the oldest stores in the capital, founded in 1885, is highly frequented by people in Havana people for its offerings of frozen food in the basement. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 May 2020 — La Época store in Central Havana has been the focus of an outbreak that is “potentially dangerous for the province” according to the president of the Provincial Defense Council, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar. Eleven people who had been in this mall tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, when 15 new confirmed cases were detected across the province.

According to the authorities, not all those infected are residents of Central Havana, which leads to a fear of expansion throughout Havana.

La Época, one of the oldest stores in the capital, founded in 1885 on the corner of Galiano and Neptuno, is highly frequented by Havana residents since, despite the shortage, it has a significant supply of frozen food in the basement.

While the great department stores, in the style of the Carlos III Plaza, closed their doors to the public weeks ago, the smaller muti-department stores have remained open. In the case of La Época, it is located in one of the most densely populated areas of the city and in the vicinity of neighborhoods that have had Covid-19 outbreaks such as Los Sitio.

Torres Iríbar indicated that the outbreak is being investigated both in its evolution and in its outcome. He called for extreme precautions in this type of shopping center where many people go and long lines form, and asked people not to lose the perception of risk.

In a meeting on Saturday to analyze the progression of the pandemic, Cuban president Díaz-Canel explained that there have been advances in the last week, which could generate overconfidence in the population and a relaxation of the rules of social distance and hygiene; he offered as an example the outbreak in La Época.

Among the data provided by Carlos Alberto Martínez Blanco, provincial director of Health for Havana, the incidence rate of coronavirus in Havana was placed at 43.65 per 100,000 inhabitants, with the municipalities of Cotorro, Cerro, Centro Habana and Regla being some of those with the highest incidence.

The data contrasts sharply with the rest of the Island, which has a rate of 16.59 per 100,000, which coincides with the world pattern that concentrates more cases in the most densely populated capitals or cities. Havana has 2,918 inhabitants per square kilometer, a very high figure compared to the country’s average of 103 inhabitants per square kilometer.


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