14ymedio, Havana, 8 July 2021 — Warning signs of a pandemic collapse keep coming from Matanzas, a province that has been leading the list of daily infected cases for days. In a room at Puntarena, a hotel in Varadero that functions as medical center for positive Covid-19 cases, the corpse of a traveler was left unattended for over two days by the authorities.
The man died on Tuesday morning, as reported by other travelers from the island who are quarantined at this hotel. In a video published on social media, the entrance of the room with an oxygen tank can be seen, as well as the silhouette of the legs of a corpse laying on a bed covered with a white sheet.
“I lent them my phone so they could film the video. I don’t have the guts to see it, but it hurts,” said Katia Jiménez, a Cuban who uploaded the video to Facebook showing what was taking place. The woman, who tested positive for Covid-19, said that the deceased person was a fellow traveler who was staying in a room one floor above hers.
“Everyone who knows me, knows that I have a strong character, but I am very sympathetic. He was not my friend, but he was a human being who lost his life due to medical negligence,” she added.
Jiménez also denounced “the lack of medical attention and medicine” at the isolation center. She added that she was treated with Interferon which gave her adverse reaction, and she was not examined by medical personnel. “It is easy to talk about it, but it is harder to go through it like I am.”
Since June 5, the government established that all travelers, who are Cuban residents, arriving at international airports in the tourist towns of Ciego de Avila and Varadero, have to pay a mandatory isolation package at a hotel in foreign currency (MLC).
According to health officials, travelers will have to stay quarantined for seven days. The isolation package includes, besides lodging, transportation from the airport to the isolation center.
People, I am broadcasting live something that happened at this hotel, this hotel [grab this] this hotel Puntarena, in Varadero. Were are people who traveled to Russia and [returned home and] we are here quarantined in this hotel but they really haven’t even treated us with Interferon here.
You can see there an oxygen tank. What we are going to show you is a human being who passed away three days ago, and this is the time that nobody has come to pick him up. [keep talking]
Three days ago, he passed away.
You can see it there. There he is. [keep talking] There he is, still laying in bed. Waiting. Waiting. We do not go inside because the room is infected. He has been in that bed for… like the boy says, approximately three days, and the doctors, nothing, not even the funeral car, nobody has come to check on him. Not even his family, I think, because nobody wants to enter the room.
Likewise, isolation packages are also enforced for travelers arriving at Havana and Santiago de Cuba airports, at prices ranging from 378 to 1,907 dollars.
This past Wednesday “a new protocol to confirm positive cases” was announced, which gives prevalence to antigen tests over PCR.
However two days before that, new regulations for travelers arriving from Russia were being implemented. After their stay at the isolation center, they needed to complete a 14-day quarantine in their respective homes, “complying with all the regulations indicated by the health department,” published by the official media this past Monday.
Health personnel is in charge of “watching” protocol compliance, provided that the homes were these travelers reside are identified, explained Dr. Neil Reyes Miranda, director of the Health Department for Villa Clara province. After ten days, the PCR test will be repeated because “some cases have turned positive on the ninth day. If they have symptoms, they have to report it to the health department so that they can be admitted into a healthcare facility.”
However, these regulations are not enforced for Russian tourists. Around 230 visitors from Russia were in isolation in Varadero because, allegedly, they tested positive for Covid-19. After many of them expressed their discontent on social media, saying that they were vaccinated and had traveled to the island after testing negative on PCR tests, Moscow demanded that Cuba “release” their quarantined tourists.
After the increase of infected cases, the country lives in a dramatic scene where social media has become one of the few channels to voice the collapse of medical centers. Patients and their relatives have demanded medical care, PCR testing, or ICU care.
This is the scene in Matanzas where some healthcare workers and residents denounced the conditions in which several hospitals were at maximum capacity, with no extra beds and patients confined waiting in hallways.
Translated by: Rita Ro
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